The numbers are in from the final round of gubernatorial financial reports – and things have changed somewhat since the last reports at the end of September. We saw then that Republican Paul LePage had a significant amount of cash that he’d yet to spend, as did Democrat Libby Mitchell. Independents Eliot Cutler and Shawn Moody had quite a bit left as well, while their fellow independent Kevin Scott did not. The financial state of the race has changed somewhat, but not immensely. Note the graph below only reflects the period between September 21 and October 22, not the entire campaign.
LePage and Mitchell have both spent quite a bit of their money, but still have resources remaining as we enter the final week of the campaign. Cutler’s cash reserves have also dropped significantly, and he lags the two partisan candidates by a large amount in this category. This is especially acute when one considers that Mitchell and LePage’s partisan allies have been spending quite a bit to assist them, as have various other groups; Cutler is only getting help from the Campaign for Maine PAC set up by a group of his supporters. They’ve spent about $80,000 on the Governor’s race so far. Shawn Moody is scraping the bottom of the barrel for campaign cash; he’s still in a much better position, however, than Kevin Scott, who has almost no money going in or out.
Other than Cutler, none of the candidates have lent themselves any more money or made any more self-donations since the last reports were filed. Moody, it seems, hit his limit with his initial $500,000 loan. Cutler, meanwhile, has spent a grand total of approximately $1.5 million (much of it from himself) on the race thus far this year, more than either party candidate has spent since the primary. LePage continues to spend the least of any of the top three candidates while maintaining his lead in the polls.
While we won’t see any regular, detailed reports on another large period until after the election, we will be getting more financial information from the campaigns. We have now entered the 24-hour reporting period, so we will begin to see much more frequent updates on the candidates’ financial activities. While these reports aren’t as detailed as the periodic reports, they will still show us major expenditures and donations.
Indeed, Cutler and Mitchell both have already filed 24-hour reports since filing their 11-day pre-general. Cutler filed two reports yesterday, one showing $161,561.55 in expenses on advertising and another showing that he had given himself another $150,000. This leaves him with $73,558.45 in cash-on-hand, although with his ability to self-finance, that figure isn’t particularly helpful. After filing her initial report Wednesday, Mitchell has spent more money as well. One shows a little more than $4,000 spent producing a TV ad, while the other shows $138,000 in ad buys. This leaves her with around $46,000 in cash-on-hand for the remaining week of the campaign. We’ll continue to keep an eye on the candidates’ 24-hour reports as we head into that crucial final week.