Ben Chin breaks state fundraising record in race for Lewiston mayor

Ben Chin breaks state fundraising record in race for Lewiston mayor

According to financial reports submitted by the campaign on Monday, progressive Lewiston mayoral candidate Ben Chin has raised more money, more quickly than any previous candidate for municipal office anywhere in the state. Chin, who works as political director for the Maine People’s Alliance, reports raising $33,733.51 in contributions from 275 individual supporters between February 26th and June 30th, 2015.

While three candidate running for mayor of Portland eventually surpassed that amount in 2011, that was at the end of their campaigns. Chin’s total represents funds raised entirely before he had officially secured a place on the ballot (an action he also took yesterday, submitting twice the 100 required signatures of Lewiston voters).

According to Lewiston Sun Journal political reporter Scott Thistle, Chin has already raised $14,000 more than the combined receipts of all the municipal candidates in 2013 in both Lewiston and Auburn.

Chin cites the level of financial support as a sign that Lewiston residents are ready for a new direction in city government.

“I am humbled and inspired by this outpouring of support. Clearly, people are ready for change,” said Chin in a statement. “Together, we’re going to make sure Lewiston is a city where everyone has a shot at their dreams.”

Even with Chin’s outsized financial resources, the November election still promises to be a hard-fought affair. Two-term incumbent Robert Macdonald is running to retain his seat and there’s still time for other challengers to enter the race before the filing deadline on Friday. Real estate broker and former city councilor Steve Morgan is planning to announce his candidacy later today.

Elections in Lewiston, as in most Maine municipalities, are non-partisan. Both Macdonald and Morgan are registered Republicans, while Chin is a Democrat.

Macdonald, a Tea-Party-backed conservative, seems to view Chin as his biggest threat. He has devoted the last several editions of the weekly column he writes for the Twin City Times (a newspaper owned by Peter Steele, who also serves as Director of Communications for Governor Paul LePage) to attacking Chin and his work at MPA.

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