Did you vote for Republican Paul LePage for governor? If so, he spent almost $6.50 on you and compared to what Democrat Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler spent on their supporters, you were a bargain.
This shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention, but now that the Maine Ethics Commission has received final campaign finance reports (which will likely be amended slightly in the coming months) and the Secretary of State has certified the Nov. 4 vote, we can calculate the exact spending-to-votes ratio.
Just as in 2010, when he turned away four challengers, LePage was outspent his two major opponents in 2014 but still garnered more votes than any governor in Maine history. Here’s a quick breakdown:
Money spent: $1,906,349
Votes earned: 294,533
Amount spent per vote: $6.47
Money spent: $3,004,273
Votes earned: 265,125
Amount spent per vote: $11.33
Money spent: $2,987,195
Votes earned: 51,518
Amount spent per vote: $57.98
Correction: I had the decimal points wrong in an earlier post.
So what’s the takeaway?
- LePage ran an ingenious campaign that never strayed far from his winning message built around the need for welfare reform and a constant reiteration of his first-term accomplishments.
- Michaud’s loss proved that all of the money in the world can’t make up for a lack of a clearly articulated vision for Maine and that spending too much time attacking another candidate is a dangerous strategy.
- Cutler, who nearly defeated LePage in 2010, showed that even though he successfully cast himself in both elections as the candidate who was above political bickering and mostly focused on issues and policy, he couldn’t pick up in 2014 where he left off in 2010. Like Michaud, money didn’t make the difference for Cutler, who put approximately $1.3 million of his own money into the campaign, counting loans and hundreds of smaller “in-kind” expenditures.