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Mills continues to out-fundraise LePage, but national spending looms

In Maine, incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, left, and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage will face off for the 2022 election for governor.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
In Maine, incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, left, and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage will face off for the 2022 election for governor.

Gov. Janet Mills continues to out-pace former Republican Gov. Paul LePage in fundraising as the two prepare to face off in the November elections.

According to campaign finance reports filed on Tuesday, Mills raised slightly more than $600,000 between June 1 and July 19. To date, Mills has reported raising more than $3.8 million and had $2.7 million left in her campaign account. LePage, who previously served two terms as governor, raised more than $312,000 during the last reporting period and trails Mills by about $2 million in total fundraising. LePage reported about $1.2 million in cash on hand. But the Republican was out-spent by his major opponents during both of his successful campaigns for governor.

The race between the Democratic incumbent and the Republican former governor is already drawing interest and spending from the national parties and outside groups — particularly the Democratic Governors Association and the Republican Governors Association.

If Maine's recent campaign history is any indication, the influx of money from outside groups could easily eclipse the amount raised and spent by the two candidates. During the 2020 U.S. Senate race, for instance, incumbent Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Sara Gideon spent nearly $105 million, shattering all previous records in the state. But outside groups spent more than $110 million on the race, which much of that paying for television attack ads and mailers.

An independent candidate for governor who has qualified for this November’s ballot, Sam Hunkler, has given roughly $2,000 to own campaign but has said he hopes to spend less than $5,000 on his bid for governor.