AUGUSTA, Maine — A combat veteran who wants to be Maine’s next governor has become the top reported fundraiser so far as the 2018 gubernatorial field shapes up.
Democrat and Sanford attorney Adam Cote reported this week raising roughly $260,000 for the primary and general race from April through June. Cote describes himself as a political outsider and says he’s committed to running a positive campaign focused on Democratic Party unity.
Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term-limited from running again in 2018.
His former state health and human services chief, Mary Mayhew, a Republican, reported raising about $90,000 for her primary and general election campaigns in June. Mayhew spearheaded the roll-out of the governor’s reforms of and cuts to public assistance programs.
About 86 percent of Mayhew’s primary and general contributions come from donors who reported Maine addresses, while 65 percent of Cote’s total contributions come from the state. Cote reported receiving about $33,900 from Massachusetts donors and another $12,700 from New York contributors.
Fundraising reports aren’t due yet for recently announced Democratic contenders who are planning traditionally financed runs, including Attorney General Janet Mills, former state Sen. James Boyle and former Maine House Speaker Mark Eves.
Libertarian Richard Light also plans to run a privately funded campaign. Light, of Liberty, did not list any contributions in a report filed Monday.
Other candidates plan publicly funded runs.
That includes Green Independent Jay Dresser, progressive activist Betsy Sweet and Independent state Treasurer Teresa Hayes and Democratic retired Coast Guard commander Patrick Eisenhart.
Lawmakers this month passed a two-year, $7.1 billion budget that transfers an additional $3 million into the Maine Clean Elections Fund in 2018, a move that legislators say guarantees access to public campaign financing for legislative and gubernatorial candidates.
Exactly how voters will elect this year’s slate of candidates remains unclear as Republicans plan to push for a repeal of a system that would allow voters to rank their candidate choices for a position rather than choosing one.
More candidates are expected to announce gubernatorial runs in coming months. Republican Deril Stubenrod withdrew from the race Tuesday, according to state campaign reports.