Democrat Gideon raises $3.5M in bid to unseat Sen. Collins

Democrat Sara Gideon raised $3.5 million in the last three months of 2019 and spent nearly that much over the same period in her bid to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins, her campaign said Tuesday.

The fundraising brings Gideon to a total of $7.6 million raised since she announced her candidacy in June, and she has $2.77 million in cash on hand, her campaign said.

Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House, is still trailing Collins in overall fundraising. The senator's fourth-quarter numbers weren't yet available Tuesday but her most recent campaign finance reports had put her total fundraising at about $8.6 million, the most of any political candidate in state history. She also had $7.1 million cash in hand.

Gideon, who is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, faces activist Betsy Sweet, attorney Bre Kidman, former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse and travel agent Michael Bunker in the Democratic primary.

Gideon’s campaign said in a statement Tuesday that the fourth-quarter donors included nearly 4,200 Mainers and that 95 percent of individual donations were $100 or less.

"Over the past seven months, we've built a strong grassroots movement traveling to every corner of the state, holding suppers with Sara and talking to Mainers about the challenges they face," Gideon said in a statement.

Collins is facing perhaps the toughest reelection fight of her career as she seeks a fifth term. Democrats see her as vulnerable and are attacking her votes for the GOP tax cut and for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanagh.

Tracking firm Advertising Analytics projects that the candidates and outside groups will spend $55 million on ads by Election Day.