The 23 candidates seeking nine seats on Portland’s new charter commission were required to report campaign fundraising and spending activity last week.
Fundraising efforts vary widely, with a handful of candidates raising thousands of dollars apiece and others reporting no fundraising at all. Some candidates failed to file reports before the deadline.
Candidates reported spending their money on lawn signs, campaign literature and Facebook ads, among with things.
The field originally included 24 candidates, but Hope Rovelto, who was seeking an at-large seat, told the Press Herald she has dropped out of the race. And on Friday, Em Burnett told the Press herald they were dropping out as well.
Marpheen Chann, who is running for an at-large seat, leads the pack, raising more than $10,000. District 3 candidate Zachary Barowitz reported over $9,000 in contributions, including a $5,000 loan from himself.
Other top fundraisers include District 1 candidate Shamika (Shay) Stewart-Bouley ($5,283) and District 4 candidates Marcques Houston ($4,451) and Cheryl Leeman ($3,071).
Meanwhile, a loan listed on District 5 candidate Mony Hang’s finance report raised some questions. Hang reported a $487 loan from Maine Girls Flag Football Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit sports organization he operates. Nonprofits are prohibited from making campaign contributions and those that do can have their nonprofit status revoked.
Hang said last week the loan was a mistake. He said he ordered his campaign signs from Vistaprint, which is the same vendor he uses for the sports league. When he bought the lawn signs, however, he didn’t realize he had used the nonprofit’s credit card until the transaction was complete, he said. Hang said he plans to pay back the money.
“It was an accident. It’s not a donation,” Hang said. “I’m really new at this whole political campaign stuff.”
Melissa Cowie, the city’s elections administrator, said Thursday she received an inquiry about the loan, but not a formal complaint. She said the loan does not appear to be campaign finance violation.
Jonathan Wayne, the executive director of the Maine Ethics Commissions, which enforces campaign finance laws, said he couldn’t comment on whether the loan was a campaign finance violation, without knowing all of the facts.
“People who are new to campaign finance reporting sometimes enter loans in campaign finance reports and they can mean all sorts of different things,” he said. “It can be a mistake to take the entry of a loan in a campaign finance report at face value without knowing the actual facts.”
Here’s a look at what each candidate raised and spent:
Twain Braden: Nothing raised or spent.
David Cowie: Nothing raised or spent.
Karen Snyder: Not filed as of Wednesday morning.
Shamika (Shay) Stewart-Bouley: $5,283 raised and $957 spent.
Emma (Em) Burnette: $2,250 raised and $748 spent. They plan to drop out.
Robert O’Brien: $101 raised and spent.
Zachary Barowitz: $9,560 raised (including a $5,000 loan), $226 in debt, and $1,812 spent.
Brian Batson: $610 raised and $291 spent.
Charles Bryon: $17 raised and spent.
Marcques Houston: $4,451 raised and $483 spent.
Cheryl Leeman: $3,071 raised and $1,040 spent.
Mony Hang: Nothing raised, $487 loan, and $487 spent.
Ryan Lizanecz: $1,310 raised and $1,057 spent.
AT LARGE (4 SEATS)
William Bailey: $237 raised and spent.
Catherine Buxton: $2,522 raised (including $300 loan), $1,541 in debt, and $483 spent.
Marpheen Chann: $10,239 raised and $6,108 spent.
Lawson Condrey: $2,816 raised and $2,299 spent.
Steve DiMillo: Not filed as of Wednesday morning.
Anthony Emerson: Not filed as of Wednesday morning.
Benjamin Grant: Not filed as of Wednesday morning.
Ian Houseal: Not filed as of Wednesday morning.
Hope Rovelto: Not filed as of Wednesday morning. She’s no longer running.
Nasreen Sheikh-Yousef: $1,372 raised, $1,500 in debt, and $351 spent.
Patricia Washburn: $1,291 raised and $1,245 spent.