PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Wednesday's fundraising visit by New jersey Governor Chris Christie was the latest, but by no means the last trip by an out-of-state politician to gather money for the candidates this year. Christie joined Governor paul LePage to raise money for the Maine republican Party and for LePage's own campaign for re-election. Christie is the current chairman of the Republican Governors' Association, and raising money is one of his primary tasks. According to a guest at the fundraiser, Christie told the audience that 20 of the 29 governors up for re-election this year are Republicans. Christie also is reported to have told the audience that Maine's race is one of the top five for the RGA this year.
Leaders of both the Republican and Democratic parties say the Governor's race is their top priority, and they expect it to be a very expensive battle. Both GOP Chairman Rick Bennett and Democratic Chairman Ben Grant say each candidate in the three way race will probably need to raise and spend around five million dollars, and possibly more.
The most recent campaign finance reports showed Democrat Mike Michaud and Independent Eliot Cutler had each raised over $1 million, while LePage had raised about $840,000. LePage campaign officials say the incumbent Governor was restricted from some fundraising while the Legislature was still in session, but now expects the financial gap to narrow.
Independent Eliot Cutler told NEWS CENTER the task of raising money is harder for him because he has no party. Still, Cutler said his campaign will have the money it needs. Four years ago, Cutler provided most of the financing for his campaign out of his own pocket, and has again donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign this year. Cutler is the first of the three candidates to start airing TV commercials, with an ad starting this week that is paid for by an independent group supporting Cutler.
Candidates and party leaders say money won't buy victory, but that its essential to build a successful campaign.