Political Party Time

The party’s not over

Your reporters here at Political Party Time Maine have been busy during these last weeks of the 2014 campaign season.

Our attention has been on two stories about campaign finance we’ve published recently: “The ‘gatekeepers’: Ten wealthy Mainers giving $3.95 million to this election,” and “Sanford senator used PAC money to pay himself and family $17,000.”

We’ve also been keeping track of political party invitations for you. The number of fundraising events appears to have slowed during this last month as campaigns have accelerated their efforts to raise money from everyday citizens, not just high-dollar donors, through phone calls and emails.

State Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York, who’s running for re-election in District 1. owns “It’s a Dog’s World,” which is billed as a “complete canine training and activity center.” That-28Az9MCczs5qV7YaK4kk-TeQ4BwQaNHRve_-ZUnufI canine connection surely must be the reason Hill’s PAC fundraiser invitation was headlined, “Who Let The Dogs Out?” rather than the headline representing a commentary on the state of political campaigns in Maine.

Hill is co-chair of the legislature’s powerful Appropriations Committee, which presides over the state budget. Access to her is a valued commodity, which may give meaning to the “Sponsor” levels listed in the invitation: For $750, you can be a “Top Dog Sponsor;” $500 makes you a “Good Dog Sponsor,” and $300 makes you only a “Pup Sponsor.” There’s no category for “Rescue Dog Sponsor” or “Naughty Puppy Sponsor.”

Other events of note: While in the state to stump for gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud last week, announced the White House, President Obama mingled with party donors and bigwigs, too, at a Democratic National Committee (DNC) “roundtable”:

“While in Maine, the President will attend a DNC roundtable, and deliver remarks at a campaign event for Mike Michaud and other Maine Democrats. The DNC roundtable at a private residence is closed press, and the campaign event at Portland Expo is open to pre-credentialed media.”

Obama went to the Cape Elizabeth home of Bobby Monks and Bonnie Porta for the fundraiser, which cost a minimum of $16,200 per person, according to White House press pool reporter Colleen McCain Nelson’s account (Nelson works for the Wall Street Journal):

“President Obama’s motorcade traveled along winding roads lined with brilliant fall color en route to this afternoon’s fundraiser in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Eventually, the motorcade turned onto a private road that stretched more than a mile through a heavily wooded property. The president arrived at the event at 4:30 p.m., though the pool never saw him….

“Today’s fundraiser is closed press. The pool is holding among the pines in a guest house.”

And New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie has been busy helping Gov. Paul LePage raise money for his re-election campaign. On Oct. 28 in Bangor, guests dined on hors d’oeuvres and listened to Christie extol LePage’s virtues, reported our colleague Mario Moretto of the Bangor Daily News. Two weeks earlier at a Lewiston luncheon, Christie joined former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and her husband, former Gov. John McKernan, at another LePage fundraiser.

Think all this fundraising will come to an end once Election Day has come and gone? Think again, dear readers. That’s when Political Party Time really revs up, as lobbyists and others who want to curry favor with politicians in the Maine legislature will have to arm themselves with dollars and run the gauntlet of pre-legislative-session fundraisers.

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