Strimling held 2-1 finance advantage in mayor's race

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PORTLAND — Ethan Strimling’s second campaign for mayor was more successful than his first.

It was also more expensive, according to campaign finance reports that show Strimling raised almost twice as much cash as his two opponents.

The reports were filed Dec. 18 at the City Clerk’s office.

Strimling, who defeated incumbent Michael Brennan and Tom MacMillan in November, raised $117,500 during the 2015 campaign and reported an $11,500 cash balance left over in the 42-day report submitted last week.

All candidates and political action groups filed 11-day finance reports detailing contributions and expenditures through Oct. 20, and 42-day reports to document financial activity through Dec. 8. Financial details in 24-hour reports filed after the 11-day reports, leading to the Nov. 3 election, were also included in the 42-day reports.

Strimling held a decided advantage in funding over Brennan and MacMillan, but raised and spent less than opponents of Question 1, the referendum question proposing a $15-per-hour minimum wage in Portland.

Too Far, Too Fast Portland, a political action committee that opposed the question, raised more than $150,000, according to finance reports. The PAC also raised more than $142,000 that was contributed to Portland’s Future, which opposed the zoning provisions in Question 2.

Portlanders for a Living Wage, which supported the $15-per-hour wage, did not raise enough money to file as a PAC.

Strimling finished second to Brennan in 2011, and combined finance reports showed he raised about $90,000 in that campaign. By contrast, Brennan was less successful in 2015, raising more than $58,600, as opposed to almost $63,000 four years ago.

MacMillan, chairman of the Green Independent City Committee, raised $2,900 for his campaign. 

The Strimling campaign reported almost $44,000 in cash on hand in the 11-day finance report filed Oct. 23. The 42-day report documenting finances from Oct. 21 through the election shows the campaign raised more than $17,000 and spent more than $50,000.

Contributions of $775 each came from five sources, including the Washington, D.C.,-based International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers educational fund PAC.

Included in the spending was almost $14,000 for TV ads, and $7,500 to Baldacci Communications for staffing.

By contrast, Brennan raised $9,900 during the final reporting period and listed $17,800 cash in hand as the election approached. Brennan also loaned himself $3,000 and finished with a $600 balance. Contributors included Westbrook Mayor Colleen Hilton, with a $500 donation.

Brennan spent $30,000, including $12,000 for TV advertising, from Oct. 23 through Election Day.

The Strimling and Brennan campaigns will also be required to file reports by Jan. 15, 2016, to detail how their balances are spent. MacMillan must file semi-annually to show how his $890 balance will be spent.

No PAC raised or spent more than Too Far, Too Fast Portland, which was organized by the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and listed Chamber CEO Chris Hall as a “decision maker” on its registration forms.

From Oct. 23 on, Too Far, Too Fast Portland raised almost $34,000. Leading contributors were Maine Medical Center at $10,000, the Chamber at $7,500 and South Portland-based Sprague Energy with $5,000.

The first finance report filed by the PAC showed the Chamber contributed $50,000 of the $120,000 raised.

Too Far, Too Fast Portland spent almost $66,000 from Oct. 23 through the election, with $34,000 going to TV advertising and $15,000 for radio ads.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.