PORTLAND, Maine — It’s the same fight but with more ammunition.
Through September, the campaigns of Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Democratic challenger Emily Cain together topped their 2014 cash hauls by about $2.2 million. That’s an increase of about 60 percent.
This comes as outside groups are also spending much more heavily, raining down nearly $5 million in attack ads on both candidates and bringing total spending in the race so far to nearly $11 million.
Cain’s campaign, which is closing the fundraising gap with Poliquin, has taken in a larger share from individual donors. More than three-fourths of her campaign’s cash has come from individuals, according to federal disclosures.
Poliquin’s campaign has raised about half its money from individual donors, with the other half from political action committees. About 46 percent of contributions to his campaign came from individual donors through September.
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Cain’s campaign has lagged Poliquin’s in overall fundraising and had about $600,000 less cash on hand through September but has been the beneficiary of about $1 million more in outside spending to oppose Poliquin.
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Most of the outside spending for the candidates has come through political party apparatuses.
The Democratic House Majority PAC and Democratic Congressional Committee have spent the most to oppose Poliquin. The veterans group VoteVets spent about $500,000 to oppose Poliquin and the National Education Association has spent about $310,000 to the same end.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has financed all of the $1.9 million in outside spending to oppose Cain.
On Monday night, Poliquin was scheduled to debate Cain. The debate was to be taped on Monday and aired Tuesday on Maine Public.
It was one of the debates that the Republican originally declined when he set his debate schedule in September. Cain said then that Poliquin was dodging questions on his record.
But Poliquin spokesman Michael Byerly said Monday that “we felt it was the right thing to do” to have a debate aired statewide on both TV and radio. The other two debates will be Wednesday on WAGM, a Presque Isle CBS affiliate, and Oct. 26 on WCSH and WLBZ, the Portland and Bangor NBC affiliates.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.