Money Race in Maine's 2nd District Reveals Key Differences

Jul 16, 2014

Democratic 2nd District candidate Emily Cain.
Credit File photo

Maine 2nd Congressional District candidates Emily Cain and Bruce Poliquin are locked in a tight money race, with just over six weeks until Labor day and the kickoff of the fall campaign.

Cain, the Democratic candidate, out raised Republican Bruce Poliquin by just over $80,000 in the period between April 1 and June 30. Poliquin has more cash on hand than Cain, but Cain, so far, has pulled in more money from political action committees and outside groups.

There are very few truly competitive House races across the country. Most analysts right now have Maine's 2nd District leaning Democratic. But it's an open seat. So it's likely that both parties, and interest groups aligned with them, will funnel plenty of money into the district between now and Election Day.

Maine 2nd District Republican candidate Bruce Poliquin.
Credit File photo

So far, the Cain and Poliquin campaigns are on fairly equal footing financially. But there are some key differences between them as well.

"Well, we're very proud of the number for the second quarter," says Dan Cashman, spokesperson for the Cain campaign. Cain raised more than $379,000 in the period between April 1 and June 30. "It shows a broad level of support that goes district-wide. Most of the money that was raised came from within the state."

Since the end of the last federal reporting period in May, Cain has raised more than $162,000 through individual contributions. She received $5,000 from political party committees - groups like the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And she raised nearly $100,000 from political action committees, such as Emily's List, ActBlue, Leadership That Listens, Move and the PACS of fellow Maine Democrats Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree.

By contrast, Republican candidate Bruce Poliquin raised more than $280,000 from individual contributors, just $8,500 from political action committees and no money, so far, from official GOP groups.

"You know, honestly, we had a lot of donors from everywhere," says Matt Hutson, who runs Poliquin's campaign. "We're happy to have the support of business owners all across the district, all across the state."

Poliquin's campaign may be receiving less support from PACs thus far. But two of the ones that have given him money are key groups for any Republican running in Maine to have in their corner: the National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund and Susan Collins' Dirigo PAC, which gave Poliquin $5,000.

"The national Republicans are looking at this race, same as, I think, a lot of folks are looking at this race," Hutson says. "They understand they have a qualified, phenomenal candidate in Bruce Poliquin, and I think all the national groups will be looking at this seat very closely and will make decisions come fall time."

In the money race, it's still somewhat early. And Poliquin does enjoy a slight, cash-on-hand advantage over Cain. What seems all but certain is that outside money in support of both candidates will be flowing into the state steadily between now and Election Day in November.