More money meant more winning in Portland races

Portland’s mayor-elect and committees winning local referendum questions far out-raised the campaigns they trounced.

Now, that’s quite cynical (I’ll explain), but vote totals from last night give us the denominator for the fun equation: $$$ / vote.

The graph (comparing spending with vote totals from Tuesday night) says it better than I can:

Now, there are a few caveats, particularly with the Portland Green-Independent Party committee that spent to support both Question 1 and Question 2, as well as a slate of city council candidates.

That is, the $5,319 is an overestimate of how much they contributed directly to the minimum wage fight, which also had some outside help from groups like the Patriotic Millionaires Action Fund.

While some other groups jumped in to support a minimum wage increase generally, none formed a committee to specifically advocate a Yes vote.

Fundraising in the mayor’s race and for or against Question 2 was a little clearer.

But, of course, making a flat comparison between money raised and votes received misses all kinds of other dynamics of the race. Even if limiting that analysis to money, it doesn’t account at all for how or when it was spent.

And to what extent is money a reflection of community support? (A breakdown of average contribution amounts may be forthcoming — anyone want a data entry project?)

The chart above also looks just at contributions, as candidates only reported major spending in the final days leading up to the campaign.

Those final contributions indicate some sense from incumbent Michael Brennan’s campaign that he needed to make up ground, loaning his own re-election effort $3,000 on Oct. 28 that helped pay for TV ad production and airtime in the final days.

Brennan was far behind in the money race with just 11 days to go in the campaign, holding just $17,895 to challenger Ethan Strimling’s $44,694 on hand at the T-minus-11-days mark.

Challenger Tom MacMillan raised a total of $2,881 through the campaign and had about $1,058 with eleven days to go.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.