May 26, 2018
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Pingree expands fundraising lead, launches TV ads

Robert F Bukaty | AP
Robert F Bukaty | AP
U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in March.
By Robert Long, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — The re-election campaign for two-term 1st District U.S. House Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, has widened its fundraising lead over Republican challenger Jon Courtney, according to Federal Elections Commission financial disclosure reports filed Monday.

The Pingree camp reported receiving $167,237 in campaign contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30. Added to donations the two-term Democratic incumbent reported receiving before June 30, the campaign has raised a total of $951,205, Pingree’s campaign manager Kate Simmons said in a release.

Courtney’s financial disclosure documents list $63,263 in contributions received between July 1 and Sept. 30. Courtney, who narrowly defeated Patrick Calder in the June 12 Republican Party primary, has amassed $110,100 in total contributions, according to his campaign.

As of the campaign finance reporting cycle that ended June 30, Pingree had outraised Courtney $765,858 to $38,059.

Pingree used some of her financial advantage — $196,000 — to buy two television ads that start running Monday and will air until the Nov. 6 election. One ad focuses on economic development and the other deals with veterans services.

The Pingree campaign also spent $50,000 for cable television ads throughout the 1st District, Simmons said.

After purchasing the television ads, the Pingree campaign has $205,000 cash on hand, according to Simmons.

Keith Herrick, Courtney’s campaign manager, wrote in an email Monday that the Republican challenger planned to make an ad buy this week. The campaign has just more than $27,000 cash on hand, according to the disclosure report.

In a release Monday, Simmons touted the fact that Pingree has received contributions from 4,008 individual donors.

Courtney’s campaign countered with a statement Monday trumpeting the fact that 99 percent of the Republican’s donations come from individuals and 98 percent from Mainers. Courtney contrasted his fundraising strategy with that of the Pingree campaign, which used what Courtney called “automated clearinghouses like ActBlue.”

The disclosure statement Pingree submitted Monday lists an aggregate total of $45,849 in donations from ActBlue, a Cambridge, Mass.-based political action committee, to the Democrat’s campaign.

Polls show Pingree with a wide lead over Courtney, a Springvale resident who has served four terms in the Maine Senate. He’s currently the Maine Senate majority leader. A Pan Atlantic SMS Group poll released Oct. 10 showed Pingree ahead 57 percent to 24 percent. With a margin of error of plus or minus 7 percent, the Pan Atlantic survey aligns with results of previous polls.

Pingree and Courtney are scheduled to debate at 8 p.m. Thursday at Bowdoin College in Brunswick. They also plan to square off in debates on WGME-TV, channel 13, in Portland on Oct. 23 and on WCSH-TV, channel 6, in Portland on Oct. 30, according to Simmons.

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