Mills Takes Lead In Fundraising In Maine's Race For Governor

Sep 27, 2018

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Janet Mills outraised Republican rival Shawn Moody over a two-month stretch this summer to take the overall fundraising lead in the race to succeed term-limited Gov. Paul LePage.

Mills, the state’s attorney general, raised over $867,000 between July 18 and Sept. 18, more than double Moody’s total of about $377,000.

Moody, who ran as an independent in 2010 and operates a chain of auto body repair shops, has a slight edge in available cash, with more than $397,000 to Mills’s more than $394,000.

Meanwhile, independent candidate Terry Hayes has collected $260,000 through the Maine Clean Election program to surpass $1.2 million in public funds.  

Twelve people donated to the other independent in the race, Alan Caron, while more than $725,000 of his $785,240 total campaign funds have come from contributions and loans from him and his wife, Kristina Egan.

While the sources of funds, spending and available cash can reveal information about the candidates’ donors, breadth of support and ability to effectuate their message, outside groups that are allowed to spend an unlimited amount of money have outspent candidate campaigns in recent elections.

More than $11.6 million was spent by outside groups in the 2014 race for governor, dwarfing $7.5 million raised and spent by the candidates themselves.

This year, more than $3 million has been spent by such groups, with the most furious period of expenditures yet to come.

The spending by the gubernatorial candidates provides a glimpse of the type of campaigns they’re running.

Mills, who has received more than $1.8 million in contributions, has spent $1.4 million so far. While a significant chunk of that money has gone to campaign consultants and salaries, nearly $720,000 has gone to television advertising.

By contrast, Moody has spent more than $1 million, of which more than $358,000 has gone to television ads. Moody has also spent more than $71,000 on direct mail and $48,000 on radio ads.

Mills is also spending money on direct mail - more than $60,000 so far - but has yet to report expenditures for radio ads.

Expenditures by Mills and Moody are likely to be buttressed, if not outright surpassed, by the outside groups.

In 2014, LePage’s reelection bid was bolstered by the Republican Governors Association, which spent more than $6 million and ran an assortment of soft biographical ads and attack ads against his Democratic opponent Janet Mills.

Similarly, Mills’ bid to become the first woman elected governor of Maine has been supported by an array of progressive groups that have been running a digital campaign that both touts her record and targets Moody.

Republicans, including the RGA, appear to be gearing up to respond. Last week the Maine Republican party reported a $130,000 ad buy attacking Mills, while an RGA-affiliated group registered with the Maine Ethics Commission

So far, Caron and Hayes have yet to receive similar support from outside groups.

Hayes has spent all but $211,000 of the $1.2 million collected in public funds, including $455,000 on television ads, $107,000 on digital ads and $340,000 on campaign consultants and salaries.

Caron has spent more than $577,000, including close to $229,000 on television ads. Caron’s ads ran for several weeks shortly after the June 12 primary, but he has not appeared on television since then, according to Federal Communications Commission filings.

Originally published Sept. 26, 2018 at 12:15 p.m. ET.