As election neared, millions poured into Maine

In the last 13 days before Election Day, state campaign finance records show millions of dollars coming in, millions going out – much of it for the heated race for governor.

In the last 13 days before Election Day, state campaign finance records show millions of dollars coming in, millions going out – much of it for the heated race for governor.

Below, explore the last-minute contributions and expenditures in Maine’s state Nov. 4 election. The data was filed by Maine state candidates and political action committees, who have to issue 24-hour reports of certain expenditures and contributions in the last days leading up to the election.

Almost $5 million in contributions have been dumped into state and local races in that period.

The biggest injectors of money into Maine state politics are the two national groups working to elect governors: the Republican Governors Association ($1,036,706) and the Democratic Governors Association ($933,200).

The Center for Public Integrity has reported that the Democratic Governors Association gets much of its money from labor unions and “former New York City mayor, billionaire and political independent” Michael Bloomberg. Energy companies and billionaires like David Koch and Sheldon Adelson fund the Republican Governors Association. Both groups are tax-exempt organizations that can accept unlimited amounts of money from individuals, corporations and unions.

The Republican group has given $875,000 to the RGA Maine political action committee and $161,706 to the Maine Republican Party. The Democratic group has given $746,000 to Maine Forward, which supports gubernatorial candidate Michael Michaud, $94,200 to the Maine Democratic State Committee and $93,000 to the national group’s state PAC counterpart.

Where did the money go? In the last 13 days, Maine candidates and committees spent more than $7.5 million on everything from radio ads to campaign consultants.

Most of that money — $3.5 million — went to TV or cable ads. Big spenders in this category include Maine Forward ($689,003.20), the Republican Governors Association- Maine PAC ($583,865.24) and Maine Wildlife Conservation Council Ballot Question Committee, which is opposing the ballot question to prohibit the use of dogs, bait or traps when hunting bears except under certain circumstances ($370,243.50).

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Marina Villeneuve

Marina Villeneuve was an investigative reporting fellow in 2014 for the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. She primarily worked on accountability projects on public safety and state government.
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