AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin has raised nearly $1.6 million for his 2016 re-election bid in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, his campaign said Monday.

The Republican’s haul nearly matches his total from the 2014 race that won him the seat. That was the most expensive U.S. House district race in Maine’s history and next year’s should outpace it, reflecting the status of the district — which was Democratic for 20 years before Poliquin’s win — as a top target for national interests.

But Poliquin has fundraised well so far: His campaign said in a news release that he raised $450,000 from July through September, boosting his campaign-long total to nearly $1.6 million, with just under $1.3 million in his war chest.

“Our re-election campaign will continue to work hard to make sure Congressman Poliquin gets out his positive pro-jobs message to his fellow Mainers,” Brent Littlefield, Poliquin’s political adviser, said in a statement.

Two Democrats running for their party’s nomination for the seat — Emily Cain, a former state senator from Orono who lost to Poliquin, and Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci — didn’t release updated figures Monday. Fundraising reports are due to the Federal Election Commission Thursday.

Poliquin’s campaign only released top-line numbers Monday, so the sources of his contributions won’t be known until Thursday. So far, he has raised money from a prime post on the House Financial Services Committee. He raised $700,000 in the first three months of 2015, more than all but one House freshman.

Through June, he raised $132,000 — or 12 percent of his total then — from the securities, investment and banking industries, the second-most amount of money from Wall Street raised by any House member in a competitive race, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Democrats used that report to attack Poliquin, with Cain calling him a “friend of Wall Street.”

For 2014’s campaign, Cain and Poliquin raised a combined $3.7 million, with outside groups spending another $3 million for or against them. Both Cain and Poliquin are ahead of their paces then, and for next year, Republicans have added Poliquin to a program that helps vulnerable incumbents while Democrats have flagged the race as a top priority.

After out-raising Poliquin in 2014, Cain hasn’t kept pace with him. By June’s end, she raised $288,000 total, with $238,000 left in her coffers. But Thursday’s deadline will be perhaps more crucial for Baldacci, a lawyer and the brother of former Gov. John Baldacci. He filed for the race in July, and the report will be the first look at his campaign’s progress.

Cain’s campaign manager, Corey Hascall, said in a statement the campaign won’t release its numbers until Thursday.

But she said the campaign is “excited about the strong financial support and grassroots momentum that we’re building in this campaign to take back Maine’s 2nd Congressional district seat.”


Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...