PORTLAND, Maine — Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s abrupt exit from the Senate race has left candidates flat-footed when it came to raising money needed for the primary, now just two months away.

Federal campaign disclosures suggested there’s no clear leader among the six Republicans and four Democrats but the ground game could be more important than big budgets in determining which of the major party candidates faces independent former Gov. Angus King on the November ballot, some observers say.

To be a primary contender, Republicans generally need at least $125,000 to $150,000 — a level reached by several candidates — but a grass-roots campaign will be more critical because there are so many candidates and a relatively short window between now and June 12, said state GOP Chairman Charlie Webster.

“This election will be won on the ground, mainly because of the short time frame. Olympia getting out means there’s really no time to spend months building an organization,” he said.

Reports filed with the Federal Election Commission last week indicated none of the U.S. Senate candidates whose reports were available had a huge advantage in terms of cash on hand.

Among Republicans, the quarterly disclosures due on April 15 indicated Scott D’Amboise raised the most money by far — more than $600,000 — but he had only $122,738 left through the end of March. Former state Sen. Rick Bennett raised $107,659 and had $104,605 left; Attorney General William Schneider raised $40,095 and had $36,484 left; and Secretary of State Charles Summers raised $21,280, all of which remained.

State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin didn’t have to file during the reporting period, his spokesman said. State Sen. Debra Plowman’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to an email request for her disclosures.

Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap raised $56,075 and had $38,907 cash on hand; state Sen. Cynthia Dill raised $24,908 and had $18,032 left; Rep. Jon Hinck raised $41,699 and had $17,091. Portland home builder Ben Pollard has loaned himself $9,000 and has spent more than $6,000 so far on the campaign.

GOP consultant Brent Littlefield, who’s assisting the Bennett campaign, said Bennett’s fundraising numbers are the most solid, especially given the short amount of time in which the money was raised. Bennett, Littlefield said, has demonstrated the ability to raise enough money to go after King.

King, for his part, doesn’t have to worry about a primary but he’s already actively campaigning. FEC filings indicate he has raised $173,561, which includes a loan of more than $37,000 to the campaign.

With primary rapidly approaching, candidates need to get moving, both to raise money for their primary campaigns and to demonstrate that they can pose a serious challenge to King, who has high favorable ratings, said Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs at Colby College.

“If somebody is going to demonstrate that they can challenge Angus King, they have to show that they can raise significant sums of money, and we’re only two months from the primary,” he said.

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine, said the amount of money needed in Maine pales in comparison to campaigns in other states but he agreed that the candidates need to get moving. “There’s a lot of hands to shake and babies to kiss over the next two months,” he said.

14 replies on “Scott D’Amboise leads Maine Senate hopefuls in fundraising”

  1. The goofy part of this Primary Race is that little Scott D’Amboise is ever taken seriously by anyone.

    Yes, he raised lots of money – through sleazy fundraising letters lying about Senator Snowe, sent to legions of hate-filled far-right fanatics across the country.   These people from the other 49 states saw Senator Snowe as flawed because she did not follow the far-right’s marching orders on every vote.  They fail to mention that she won her third term with 74% of the vote, and would have cruised to a fourth term in 2012!   Nuts like Scott D’Amboise hate Senator Snowe – but that’s a reflection on HIM and other close-minded lunatics like him.

    The JOKE about his fundraising, however – is that he got RIPPED OFF by his “advisors” who kept more than 75% of the money they raised.   To this day, I still don’t think D’Amboise realizes he got taken so badly.  Just dumb I suppose.

    The small-minded Mr. D’Amboise claims to be an upright Christian… but he’s so far from that model!  

    I encourage anyone to attend a forum and listen to the five qualified candidates – and then compare their answers and thoughts to the fanatic diatribes spewing forth from D’Amboise: THE GOVERNMENT IS COMING TO YOUR HOUSE AND WILL BASH IN YOUR DOOR WITHOUT A WARRANT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.  GOVERNMENT AGENTS AND THE MILITARY WILL TAKE YOU AND YOUR WHOLE FAMILY AND IMPRISON YOU WITHOUT CHARGES, INDEFINITELY. 

    Really Scott?  Are they REALLY coming after all of us….  or are you just nuts????

    1. I have met all 5 canidates..and I do support Scott over all of them. I noticed you went off on his attack on Sen Snowe..but to be honest..looks like he was correct. Did or did she not claim she would run..and then guess what.. SHE GAVE up.
      I do not hate Sen Snowe, but she did not represent Maine as she should have in several areas..and that bothers many voters.
      You attack on Scott for his being backed by many Christians..well..cheap shot.
      Your claims on his spending money on ads and being ripped off…”smells fishy” since
      your letter is more a bash Scott letter then being on topic.

      Sad part is, you hide behind a computer and take shots after a real working man attempting to make a difference, who went against Sen Snowe when the others felt it was a no chance race. Scott has my vote..and several others who see beyond the anti-christian-gop gossip.

      1. Scott polls at 4% and yet has already spent $480,000 dollars. For someone claiming to be a fiscal conservative this concerns me, as it wouldn’t appear he is adept at spending money effectively.

        $100,000 dollars can purchase some serious ad time in Maine…it is therefore probable that he is spending large sums on consultants and political firms notorious for ripping off inexperienced candidates.

        A quick google search would prove this is in fact the case. Check out this article:

        http://pinetreepolitics.bangordailynews.com/2011/07/22/scott-damboise-hero-of-the-out-of-stater/

        His money comes from out of state donors…likely looking to knock off Snowe. He is also spending this money on out-of-state consultants and firms.

        Plus, let’s not forget his dismal showing when he ran for Congress…it doesn’t inspire much support for a statewide race when he obtained only 29% of the vote in the more conservative Congressional district.

  2. akvet:  You are so right.  Scott D’Amboise had the “guts” to challenge Senator Snowe and has been campaigning for two years, while the others felt safe to enter the fray,  AFTER she decided not to run.
    He has been persistent, and did not decide that he should not be a part of the primary after these more well-known candidates scrambled to get on the ballot.  I am staying with him, for certain. 

    Another candidate to really consider is Blaine Richardson, who is a candidate for the 2nd District Congressional seat.   Terrific person–retired Navy– conservative-from Belfast.  http://www.richardsonforcongress2012.com.

    1. Scott polls at 4% and yet has already spent $480,000 dollars. For someone claiming to be a fiscal conservative this concerns me, as it wouldn’t appear he is adept at spending money effectively.

      $100,000 dollars can purchase some serious ad time in Maine…it is therefore probable that he is spending large sums on consultants and political firms notorious for ripping off inexperienced candidates.

      A quick google search would prove this is in fact the case. Check out this article:

      http://pinetreepolitics.bangordailynews.com/2011/07/22/scott-damboise-hero-of-the-out-of-stater/

      His money comes from out of state donors…likely looking to knock off Snowe. He is also spending this money on out-of-state consultants and firms.

      Plus, let’s not forget his dismal showing when he ran for Congress…it doesn’t inspire much support for a statewide race when he obtained only 29% of the vote in the more conservative Congressional district.

  3. Clarification:   I did NOT say Christians support D’Amboise.  I said he may claim to be a Christian in his words…  but his actions show something else because he has sure raised lots of money LYING about Senator Snowe’s actual record. 

    = = = =

    Also – D’Amboise has no clue how ridiculous he sounds, sitting between two career American military officers (Summers from the Navy and Schneider, a West Point grad and disabled vet)… and lecturing them on the “Courage” and “Guts” it took for him to run against Olympia Snowe.

    Really little Scotty?  YOU’VE got more “guts” and “courage” than these two veteran officers because you were “brave” enough to send out sleazy, lying fundraising letters about a 65 year old woman???

    Yeah, you’re REAL tough and brave!

  4. Scott is wicked wicked smart and he’ll win this no problem. He wants no taxes too and he’ll fight ’em all the way. He’s got this tea party guy just a baggin’ !!!!

    Go get get ’em Scott . Keep the guns and no taxes and NO OBAMA Care. We’ll win this country back

    Don’t TREAD ON ME!!! Right SCott ? Just Don’t Be Treadin!!!

    1. Ha ha hah.,,,,,thats funny!     Rick Bennett is as useful as LePage’s daughter answering phones…

  5. Please explain how Senator Snowe obtained all her wealth??She’s now worth over $270 million dollars…and she and her hubby are being investigated for fraud among other things by the Dept of Justice…and you really believe she represented Maine? She represented herself and no one else….why isn’t she running? because she knows something is coming down from DOJ or a deal was cut…we need new blood….not old angus beef and other political hacks

  6. Can someone explain to me how D’Amboise was able to spend HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars in Maine without buying any airtime? This man has not had any commercials and is a complete unknown and yet he has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. Where did it all go?

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