GOP not giving up on Maine Senate race

Republicans are apparently hoping to split the Democratic vote between independent former Gov. Angus King and Democrat Cynthia Dill in order to give their candidate, Charlie Summers, a chance at winning the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

Republicans are trying to peel away support from popular former Gov. Angus King, an independent, who is favored to win a U.S. Senate seat made more competitive by the retirement of senior Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Maine Freedom, a new super PAC, spent $137,000 on ads supporting Cynthia Dill, the Democratic candidate. Even though the super PAC bought ads supporting the Democratic candidate, it appears to be a Republican group.

As reported Friday by the Bangor Daily News, the group's treasurer is Michael Adams, general counsel for the Republican Governors Association. Adams is also a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association, according to his profile at law firm Dinsmore & Shohl, where he is an elections lawyer.

The super PAC’s assistant treasurer, Erin Berry, is also a former lawyer for the RGA and previously worked at the Republican State Leadership Committee, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Republicans apparently hope to split the Democratic vote between King and Dill, thus giving Republican candidate, Charlie Summers, a chance at victory.

The RGA, a politically active nonprofitwhose mission is to elect Republican governors, is not involved with the Maine Freedom super PAC, according to spokesman Mike Schrimpf.

“The RGA has zero involvement with the group. We are not funding it, helping with strategy, anything,” Schrimpf said in an email to the Center. “The only connection is the RGA’s counsel, Mike Adams.”

Target Enterprises, the group that made the ad buy for Maine Freedom, is a California-based media placement company. The president of the group, Adam Stoll, was senior adviser to the Republican National Committee in 2004 and 2008 and served as the national advertising director for the 1996 presidential committee of former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan.

Maine Freedom registered with the FEC as a super PAC on Aug. 16. The only reported campaign spending so far is Friday’s pro-Dill ad, which was not available online at this writing. No donors have yet been disclosed.

In other outside spending news:

  • The nonprofit National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action reported spending $420,000 in the Ohio and Virginia U.S. Senate races, where the group opposes Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and former Democratic Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.
  • As part of a $250,000 ad buy, Republican nonprofit Crossroads GPS released “Mountain,” opposing Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who is running against former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson.
  • Conservative nonprofit Americans for Prosperity spent $3.6 million on “New Ideas,” which was released Thursday and opposes President Barack Obama.
  • On Friday, Americans for Prosperity released “Washington-Style Reform,” attacking Rep. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., for supporting the Affordable Care Act.
  • Conservative super PAC National Horizon reported spending $192,000 on ads supporting Republican Wendy Long for U.S. Senate from New York. The litigation lawyer faces incumbent Democrat Sen. Kristen Gillibrand. National Horizon’s latest ad criticizes Gillibrand and the Affordable Care Act.
  • American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit, spent $548,000 on “Battle Born,” an ad opposing Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., and $183,000 on “Choice,” an ad supporting Republican Rick Berg for U.S. Senate in North Dakota. Both ads were released Aug. 22.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent $189,000 on advertising opposing Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.
  • Majority PAC¸ a super PAC supporting Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate, spent $730,000 on ads opposing Rep. Connie Mack, R- Fla. Majority PAC released the ad “Tiger Blood” opposing Mack on Thursday. Mack faces incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson.
  • SEIU COPE, the political action committee of the Service Employees International Union, spent $153,000 opposing Rep. Michael Coffman, R-Colo., and supporting Colorado State Rep. Joe Miklosi, D-Colo., who face off in the election for U.S. House in Colorado’s 6th district.
  • The super PAC of the AFL-CIO, Workers’ Voice, spent $118,000 on flyers, direct mail and staff support in support of Obama.

Correction: An earlier version of this story failed to explain that while the Maine Freedom super PAC’s treasurer is a Republican Governors Association official, the RGA says it has no involvement with the group. The article has been updated to include a comment from the RGA. 

About the author

Rachael Marcus is a reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit, non-partisan independent investigative news outlet, which contributes campaign finance coverage to Marketplace. For more of their reporting on money and politics go to publicintegrity.org.

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