Democratic candidate for Congress Emily Cain raised more money than U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the third quarter of 2016, continuing a streak of contributions this year that puts her less than $300,000 behind the freshman congressman in terms of total money raised this election cycle.
In the third quarter, Cain raised $1.1 million while Poliquin raised about $500,000, according to newly filed campaign finance reports from the Federal Election Commission. With less than a month left until election day, Poliquin has raised just over $3 million while Cain has raised $2.7 million.
The $5.7 million total haul in the race – a rematch of the 2014 contest between Cain and Poliquin – could be an indicator of the national attention it has received as Democrats fight to win back a legislative majority and have targeted seats with vulnerable incumbents, as they have deemed Poliquin.
Spending in the 2016 race so far exceeds the 2014 race – in which Poliquin beat Cain by 5 percentage points – by close to $2 million. The rematch has also attracted an influx of outside spending, with other groups contributing more than $2 million to date.
Though shrinking, Poliquin has maintained his lead over Cain in terms of money raised, and a recent poll by the Maine Sunday Telegram also showed him 10 points ahead of his challenger.
But Cain’s $1.1 million raised between July 1 and Sept. 30 makes her the best-funded congressional challenger in Maine history, according to her campaign, and breaks the record for the largest amount of money raised by a Congressional candidate from the state in a single quarter. That record was previously held by Poliquin, who started off the 2016 race with $700,000 raised in the first quarter.
Cain’s campaign is optimistic that a narrowing fundraising gap could also be indicative of a tighter race with voters.
“I’m deeply proud of the groundbreaking grassroots campaign we have built this year,” Cain said in a press release last week ahead of the financial reports becoming public. “Working families see their jobs going overseas and they see their Congressman serving himself instead of them, and they are angry and worried. Maine deserves better than a Congressman who’s out of touch and out for himself.”
According to the release, Cain has raised money from more than 3,500 individual Mainers this election cycle. The report released Sunday also reflects a large number of individual donors, many of them from Maine, but does not show a total breakdown of voters from Maine.
According to the reports, 77 percent of Cain’s contributions come from individual donors compared to 47.8 percent for Poliquin. She has received about $625,000 from PACs and special interest groups while Poliquin has received more than $1.5 million.
Michael Byerly, press secretary for Poliquin’s campaign, did not directly respond Sunday when asked about the narrowing fundraising gap. In response to questions about money from individual donors, Byerly issued a statement criticizing Cain for ties to Democratic leadership.
“Emily Cain will do anything to distract from the fact that Nancy Pelosi is pulling her strings and supporting (Cain’s) campaign with big super PAC money, including from liberal donors in California and even Wall Street interests,” Byerly said.
In 2014, Cain outspent Poliquin by about $300,000, something his campaign pointed to at the time as indicative of good money management skills and Poliquin’s background in finance.
She also leads him in spending to date this election cycle, so far having spent about $315,000 more.