Marking the likely start of late campaign spending from the GOP, Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s campaign on Monday afternoon reported spending about $100,000 for mailings to voters and another $4,120 for production of a TV ad.
The spending comes as ads paid for by the Republican Governors Association attacking Democrat Mike Michaud — to the tune of about $593,543 — hit the airwaves.
It bodes of a late surge in ads from the RGA and LePage’s campaign this week. Ads late in the campaign have become a regular feature and complaint in recent election years, with ethics violations assessed in 2011 over an out-of-state Republican PAC’s late independent expenditure filings during the 2010 election.
Now, it’s difficult to correlate a batch of spending indicated in an independent expenditure report to a specific ad, but here’s what we know: the RGA spent $357,218 on an attack ad against Michaud on Oct. 17. It spent another $236,325 for ads to oppose Michaud Oct. 9, making that $593,543 I mentioned before.
The most recent expenditure from RGA Maine’s PAC was on Oct. 23, with $282,654 for ads supporting LePage.
Given the weeks since the latest spending to oppose Michaud, the RGA unveiled the latest such attack ad today. While the timing of an ad’s release in relation to the date of the filed expenditure can vary based a variety of things, there have been about 127 independent expenditure filings with the Maine Ethics Commission since the RGA’s Oct. 17 opposition buy against Michaud.
It tells of much more to hit the airwaves from Democratic and Republican groups, and the Campaign for Maine PAC supporting independent Eliot Cutler, which spent $100,000 on a TV ad Monday.
Those expenditures will be filed fast and furious in the week ahead, as campaigns are required to report any contributions and expenditures at or more than $1,000 up through Election Day.
The LePage campaign is the only one to file any 24-hour reports Monday, documenting a few thousand in contributions and the $104,809.50 for mailers and TV ad production. All of that went to Littlefield Consulting, the DC-based consultancy led by Penobscot County native Brent Littlefield, who was also a senior adviser to LePage’s winning 2010 campaign.
With the expenditure Monday, Littlefield and his firm have received about one-quarter of all of the LePage campaign’s expenses, primarily for campaign consulting and television ads.