Poliquin to report $291,000 in spring fundraising, plus 7 stories you need to read

Bruce Poliquin. BDN photo by Robert Bukaty.

Bruce Poliquin. BDN photo by Robert Bukaty.

Bruce Poliquin, the GOP candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, will report raising more than $281,000 in the 20 days following the June 10 primary election. None of that money came from the candidates’ own pockets, according to a press release from his campaign.

Poliquin will also report having more than $291,000 cash on hand at the end of the second quarter — the three-month campaign finance period from April through June. During the entire period, the campaign raised nearly $296,000, according to Poliquin’s campaign manager, Matt Hutson.

That bring’s Poliquin’s total campaign fundraising to date up to more than $820,000.  The Republican candidate is also touting the support of Susan Collins, who maxed out her donations to Poliquin, according to the campaign.

July 15 is the Q2 filing deadline for congressional candidates. After formal disclosures are filed with the Federal Election Commission, we’ll have a better idea of exactly how much each candidate raised, and from whom. Check State & Capitol for more updates from our campaign finance guru, Darren Fishell.

Poliquin’s Democratic Party opponent, State Sen. Emily Cain, will not be releasing any fundraising or spending figures until Tuesday, according to campaign spokesman Dan Cashman.

Democratic stars line up for Maine appearances

The Maine Democratic Party recently unveiled its “Young Dems” program — seemingly, its answer to the #Gen207 youth initiative launched by the Maine GOP last year. The group’s first event will feature Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick Vermont Gov. Peter Schumlin and gubernatorial hopeful U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in Saco on July 21.

And Patrick isn’t the only high-profile national Democrat coming to Maine in the coming weeks: On August 3, the “Ragin’ Cajun” himself, James Carville — a longtime Democratic strategist, pundit and TV host — will attend the Maine Democratic Party’s Muskie Lobster Bake. The event will also feature Michaud and Cain, plus U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who’s also running for re-election.

Lastly, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona will be in Maine with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, to attend an August 9 garden party fundraiser for Michaud, according to Michaud’s campaign spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt.

Giffords appearance for Michaud is an interesting one: Giffords was shot by a mentally unhinged would-be assassin back in 2011. Since then, she and her husband have been fierce advocates for tighter gun laws and have opposed the powerful NRA, which has given Michaud passing marks for his positions on guns and related regulations, according to Project Vote Smart.

On the Republican side, longtime George W. Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card will be in -state for a private Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Tuesday. Maine GOP director Jason Savage said other events with high-profile guests are in the works as well.

7 stories you need to read

Here’s the stories from last week in #mepolitics that you should read if you want to be up to date with things happening here in Augusta and beyond.

  • The BDN’s two-part series on the dynamics at play in 2010′s gubernatorial election, and how likely those forces are to play a role this year as two of the three 2010 candidates return to the ballot for the Blaine House.
  • A new political action committee backed by the Democratic Governors Association, several big unions and the Maine People’s Alliance are prepared to splash a lot of cash — more than $2 million — on television advertisements for Mike Michaud. As one top Republican consultant said, “That’s sort of Susan Collins territory, at that point.”
  • Backers of independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler have filed a lawsuit over what they say is an unfair playing field for non-party candidates. In Maine, independent candidates can only raise half as much money from a single donor as partisan candidates. The reasoning behind the campaign fundraising law is that, because partisan candidates must make it through a primary election as well as the general, donors should be allowed to contribute to each election. Whether that’s fair or not, will now be decided by the court.
  • The Hobby Lobby ruling, in which the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations can cite religious grounds to opt out of including contraception in employee health insurance packages, continues to make waves in our state. Democratic U.S. Reps. Pingree and Michaud have joined the fight against the ruling, and protests took place this weekend in Bangor.
  • Advocates for legalizing marijuana are making their case in York, where a public hearing on legalization has been scheduled for July 28, and in South Portland, where activists today will hand in the signatures required to put legalization on the November ballot. Portland has already voted to legalize weed, but police have said the town ordinance is largely meaningless in the face of state and federal prohibition.
  • Incumbent Republican Susan Collins continues to outpace her Democratic opponent, Shenna Bellows, in the U.S. Senate money race. Collins will report carrying more than $4 million into the summer months, compared with Bellows’ roughly $583,000.
  • #Maine: Ours is one of America’s most “ideologically loose” states.
Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House.