I've been curious who liked LePage enough to not only vote for him, but to actually bankroll his campaign. There are two ways to explore this. The first is to examine lists of donors who gave directly to his campaign, which provides a sense of his grassroots support here in Maine. The second is to look at the sources of the real corporate-scale cash that poured in from the Republican Governors Association, paying for many of the negative ads aimed at undermining his opponents. I've had a quick look at both.
Direct campaign donations are limited to $750 per real or corporate person, making it hard for any one interest group to dominate a candidate's war chest. Even so, a few names and interest clusters stick out.
Pre-primary donors -- people who thought LePage was the best Republican candidate -- included Linda Bean, her sister Diana Bean, and her mother Hazel Dyer ($750 each) and Eric, Peggy, Tucker, Michael, Kenneth, Erica, and Emily Cianchette ($750 each, except Emily who gave $500).
General election donors included James, Robert, Darin, and John Quirk of the Quirk Auto Group ($750 each), Sandi, Sam, Corey, Toby, and Sandra Knight of the Knight Auto Group ($750 each); , David, Sigrid, and Jane Marden of Mardens ($750 each), incoming House speaker Robert Nutting ($750), state Sen. Peter Mills ($750), Caspar Weinberger Jr. ($350), Portland developer Joe Boulos ($750); Rite Aid ($250); First Wind LLC ($750), Emerson Toyota of Auburn ($750), Central Maine Motors and their owner ($750 each); Howard Dana of lobbying powerhouse Verill Dana ($750), Maine Health president William Caron ($750); Linda Bean and Diana Bean again ($750 more each); Peter, Eric, Mac, Kenneth and Priscilla Cianchette ($750 each), Matthew, Lori, Jennifer, Lon, Christopher, and Kerry Sue Walters of Woodlands Assisted Living ($750 each); and Dean Scontras ($200). Amusement parks also like LePage, who got $750 donations from Palace Playland in Old Orchard Beach and the owners of Aqua Boggin. So do anesthesiologists, including their state association ($750) and their main employer here, the Spectrum Group ($500). (If you want to browse Mr. LePage's disclosures yourself, you'll find them all here.)
But the really big cash behind LePage was funneled into the race via the Republican Governors Association's Maine PAC, which spent nearly a million dollars on media buys supporting LePage or attacking his opponents. Who really brought those ads? Fifty out of state corporations and industry associations to whom LePage owes a great debt including:
- Drugmakers AstraZeneca (donated $344,000) Pfizer ($94,000) Amgen ($74,000) and Glaxo-Smith Kline ($99,000) and their industry association, Pharmaceutical Research (PhRMA; $144,000).
- The members of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce ($225,000)
- The Corrections Corporation of America, operators of private prisons ($25,000)
- Weapons firms EADS North America ($44,000) and Demmer Corp. ($44,000)
- For-profit charter school curriculum developer K12 Management Inc ($19,000)
- MAXIMUS and ResCare Inc. ($50,000 each) , firms specializing in for-profit outsourcing of social services.
- Offshore oil services firm Alliance Marine Services (which donated $25,000 early on, some of which was used to pay video tracker Lauren Chatmas.)
I'll be keeping an eye out to see if any of these firms show up in Maine, looking for contracts or legislation.
[Update, 1/20/2011: I've taken a more detailed look at these donors and their interests in Maine for the Portland Phoenix.]
[Update, 1/24/2011: LePage has nominated a CCA warden to head the Dept. of Corrections.]