Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Maine: Fresh campaign reports for Portland city races

As the city can't manage to post campaign finance reports online until years after the fact, I've taken it upon myself to do so, and to at least skim them before each election. It's a tiresome task, so I do hope someone compels the city clerk's office (or their technical support people) to get their act together before the next election.

The latest disclosures for city office and the city ballot measure to introduce an elected mayor were due last Friday, and cover the entire campaign through Oct. 19. I'll post them over at my ad hoc Portland, Maine campaign finance page when I get a chance, but for now, here's the cliff's notes version:

City Council, at large race: This pits incumbents John Anton (Green) and Jill Duson (Democrat) against outgoing district three councilor Dan Skolnik (D) and challenger Charles Bragdon (G). The top two vote getters will claim a seat at City Hall.

Longtime councilor Duson has raised the most money -- $2038 -- with the Longshoreman's union and their leader, Jack Humenick, contributing $450. Maine Turnpike Authority manager Paul Violette and former councilor Will Gorman($100) also back Duson, along with the proprietors of something called CT Management (who gave a combined $700.)

Skolnik, who announced he was retiring from his District 3 seat, but is now staging a write-in campaign for at-large, won his previous term with the help of substantial donations from people associated with Ocean Properties, the firm behind the Maine State Pier debacle. Apparently the old OP crowd still likes the guy. Former VP Bob Baldacci (the governor's brother) gave $100 and former spokesman Harold Pachios, $250. Former legislator Ethan Strimling ponied up $100 as well. Total kitty for Skolnik: $645.

Anton is apparently confident in being reelected, as he reported having no activity this cycle. Bragdon also raised no money, but gave himself $79.60.

City Council, District Three Race: This pits former mayor Ed Suslovic (D) against political newcomer Will Mitchell (D), son of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell.

Mitchell raised an impressive $6394 this cycle from a long list of donors, large and small. These included his mom and dad ($100), councilors Anton ($350) and Nick Mavodones ($100), former councilors Gorman ($100), Jim Cloutier ($100), Jim Cohen ($100 with his wife), and Anne Pringle ($100), and the Portland Longshoremen (the maximum $350.) It's clear where the establishment stands on this one.

Suslovic raised $2355, but also loaned himself $10,000. Donors included Yarmouth Senate candidate Dick Woodbury ($250).

Question One: This asks if we should have an elected mayor, instead of letting the councilors appoint each other to the post. (I wrote on this issue and the background to it earlier this year in Down East.)

Two Political Action Committees have raised and spent thousands to ensure the measure passes. The driving forces are the League of Young Voters, which kicked in $1300 for their own PAC, and the Portland Chamber, which have $2500 (and another $2936 in in-kind support) to the "Elect Our Mayor - Yes On 1 PAC." The other big donor to that aforementioned PAC: Burt's Bees founder, philanthropist, and real estate accumulator Roxanne Quimby, who gave $5000. Makes one wonder if she's planning to run herself.

[Update, 11/1/2010: I made a second trip to City Hall to get the disclosures for the anti-elected mayor PAC.; see the last item here.]

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