November 08, 2019
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Sara Gideon outraised Susan Collins this summer, but Collins still has more money than ever

J. Scott Applewhite | AP
J. Scott Applewhite | AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was out-raised by a Democrat with national backing between July and September’s end, but she has raised more money than any Maine politician ever in a 2020 race for a fifth term that is hurtling toward historic spending levels.

House Speaker Sara Gideon, who kicked off her campaign in June and is one of four Democrats running active campaigns for the party’s nomination to face the Republican incumbent, raised $3.2 million to Collins’ $2.1 million between July 1 and Sept. 30. Updated filings were due to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday.

In Maine’s swing 2nd Congressional District, U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a Democrat, has a head start on three Republican rivals — two of whom only declared for the race last week — though he is lagging behind the fundraising pace of the Republican incumbent he ousted in 2018.

Collins has still raised nearly $8.6 million ahead of the 2020 election, surpassing the campaign-long total for any Maine politician in history. She passed a mark she set during a 2008 re-election campaign against then-U.S. Rep. Tom Allen in which she raised $8 million.

Maine’s is among three Republican seats that are being targeted most heavily by Democrats after Collins’ 2018 vote to confirm U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. A liberal crowdfunding effort promised millions to her eventual Democratic opponent, Republicans vowed to fund Collins heavily and a July report projected $55 million in ad spending on the race.

The incumbent had $7.1 million left and raised $1.9 million — or 22 percent of her total — from political committees including those of Comcast, the defense and aerospace company Lockheed Martin and the accounting giants PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst and Young.

Collins’ individual donors from the recent period who donated the maximum amount included attorney Marc Kasowitz, who represented President Donald Trump during investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election and Linda McMahon, the former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Gideon has raised $4.2 million since declaring her run, with 95 percent of that money coming from individuals. She raised $1.3 million from people who gave less than $200 during the most recent fundraising period. Gideon had nearly $2.8 million left as of Sept. 30.

Her donors included George Soros, a billionaire investor and major donor to Democratic causes, his son, Jonathan Soros, author Stephen King and Cape Elizabeth developer Robert C.S. Monks. Gideon also got maximum donations from the political committees of progressive groups that back her, including NARAL Pro-Choice America and End Citizens United.

Gideon is being challenged in a June 2020 primary by three other Democrats running active campaigns. Hallowell lobbyist Betsy Sweet raised $183,000, while Jon Treacy, a retired U.S. Air Force major general from Oxford, raised $34,000 and Saco lawyer Bre Kidman raised $14,000. Treacy gave his campaign nearly $13,000, while Kidman contributed nearly $2,000.

Golden raised nearly $1 million as of Sept. 30, with 18 percent of that coming from political committees and $794,000 left. He was behind the fundraising pace of former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican who r aised nearly $1.6 million by this point in his first term.

Former state Sen. Eric Brakey, the first Republican to declare for the 2nd District race, raised $338,000 since entering the race in July. Two other Republicans — Adrienne Bennett, the former spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage, and former state Rep. Dale Crafts — declared for the 2nd District race last week and weren’t subject to disclosure requirements.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat from the 1st District, has $279,000 in her warchest, much of it from previous campaigns in the liberal district. The only Republican to file for a race against her, physician Jay Allen of New Harbor, didn’t report fundraising during the latest period.



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