House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, flashes a thumbs up at a Democratic colleague prior to the start of the first session of the new year at the State House House in Augusta in this Jan. 8, 2020, file photo. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon’s campaign said Tuesday it raised $3.5 million in the last three months of 2019 in her race against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, though the challenger spent nearly that much over the period and trails the incumbent overall.

It brings Gideon to a total of $7.6 million raised since announcing her candidacy in June, and she has nearly $2.8 million on hand, her campaign said. That was only slightly more than it had after the third quarter of 2019, indicating near-equal spending and fundraising in late 2019.

Gideon, who is backed by Senate Democrats’ campaign arm and other national groups, is one of four Democrats running to unseat Collins. The Republican incumbent raised $8.5 million and had $7.1 million left at the end of 2019’s third quarter and is a top target of national Democrats. Collins has yet to release updated numbers in a race expected to be the most expensive in Maine history.

The House speaker has raised considerably more than other Democrats in the June primary race. Collins has yet to release fourth quarter numbers. Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse, who jumped into the race in November, raised $600,000 for his bid, though more than half of that was his own money, Politico reported this month.

Lobbyist Betsy Sweet of Hallowell, a 2018 gubernatorial candidate backed by some progressive groups, and lawyer Bre Kidman of Saco haven’t released fundraising figures for the fourth quarter. Sweet raised $183,000 through the end of the third quarter. Kidman raised $14,000.

Green candidate Lisa Savage, a teacher and activist from Solon, raised just shy of $25,000 during the fourth quarter, according to a campaign finance report filed last week. Campaign finance reports for all candidates are due to the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 31.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...