AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sara Gideon raised $7.1 million during the first quarter of 2020, surpassing Republican Sen. Susan Collins after the incumbent had already set a record for the most fundraising during a Maine campaign.
Gideon’s fundraising during that period — which nearly equaled what she had raised during the entirety of 2019 — brought her to about $14.8 million raised so far this cycle, according to filings that were due to the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday.
Collins raised $2.4 million during the first three months of the year, bringing her total fundraising for the cycle to $13.2 million. She still had the edge in cash on hand over Gideon with $5.6 million compared to the Democrat’s $4.6 million as of March 31.
Polls for a general election have shown Collins and Gideon virtually neck and neck in a race that has become a top target for national Democrats looking to flip the U.S. Senate. The campaign has seen millions of dollars in outside spending from groups on both sides, including super PACs like the conservative 1820 PAC and liberal Senate Majority PAC, as well as so-called “dark money” groups including Maine Momentum and One Nation.
Gideon, the second-term Maine House speaker backed by Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, faces a July 14 primary with lobbyist Betsy Sweet and lawyer Bre Kidman. Sweet reported $145,424 in fundraising during the first quarter, bringing her total to more than $400,000. She had $37,500 in cash on hand and is endorsed by some progressive groups.
The Democratic primary was originally scheduled for June but was pushed back due to the coronavirus outbreak. Former Green hopeful Lisa Savage submitted signatures earlier this month to qualify for the general election ballot as an unenrolled candidate.
Several other independents, including former 2nd Congressional District candidate and lawyer Tiffany Bond, conservative businessman Max Linn and Millinocket Town Councilor Steven Golieb, are also looking to make the ballot in November in the race to be decided by ranked-choice voting.