Democrats out-raise Republicans in fourth quarter of 2015 (sort of)

Good morning from … my living room, folks. State offices are closed today so there’s not much reason to be in Augusta unless you live there. I don’t.

The Legislature kicks back into action tomorrow for what is likely to be a week of mostly committee work and bills being referenced to said committees by the House and Senate, but there’s always tomorrow’s Daily Brief to discuss all of that.

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day from the Daily Brief. I’m partaking in what’s become a tradition in the past few years: Listening to the I Have a Dream speech. It always blows me away that it was delivered in such an impromptu and powerful manner and in only about five minutes. That’s your soundtrack for today. Have you ever actually listened to it? — Christopher Cousins

Democrats take the lead on fundraising in 2015

Earlier this month, as you may remember, there were competing rallies at the State House: Those who supported the impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage on one side and LePage supporters on the other. Among the latter group was Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett.

Aside from the politics and policy maneuvers in the State House, the popularity of the governor has an effect on fund raising, so I asked Bennett how it’s going. He said the fourth quarter of 2015 was one of the party’s best fund raising quarters in recent memory and that it might set a record.

“We’ve had very good end-of-year fundraising,” said Bennett. “I think the filings will show that we did very well relative to our adversaries.”

Well, Friday was the deadline for January quarterly filings, which represent Oct. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015.

The Maine Republican Party reported raising about $68,000 in that period and $296,000 for all of 2015.

The Maine Democratic State Committee, on the other hand, reported raising $137,000 during the reporting period and $306,000 in 2015.

It looks like the Democrats took in nearly twice the money as did the Republicans, though as the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting found earlier this month, some of that money could have filtered to Maine from federal sources and then back out again. To gain a little more perspective, I looked at what the parties took in during the period from Oct. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013. Then, like now, we were headed into an election year.

The data shows that the Democrats collected $196,000 for the fourth quarter of 2013, which is far more than they brought in for Q4 in 2015.

There was a similar story for the Republicans. They took in $75,000 in the last three months of 2013, compared with $68,000 at the end of last year.

So, it looks like fund raising is down slightly for both parties compared to 2013. These numbers could be viewed as a sort of a gauge of the fund raising climate among political donors, but honestly how much money each party is raking in won’t matter much until later this year. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Serious legal problems at home

I was watching North Woods Law with my boys last night (both of whom say they want to be Maine game wardens) and the issue of arrest warrants came up.

“Daddy, what’s a warrens?” said the five year old, so I told him: It’s when a judge asks the police to arrest you next time they see you. He was sort of quiet and we kept watching. “Warrens” settled somewhere inside his inquisitive mind until this morning when he woke up.

“Daddy, have you seen mommy?” he asked, all sleepy and stumbling.

“She already went to work, bud. Sorry,” I said. He doesn’t like it when he sleeps too late to say goodbye to his mom.

“Daddy, I’m going to get warrens for you!” he said, and stomped out of the room.

If you’re looking for me today I’ll be in another jurisdiction. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.