Thanks to nearly $1.5 million from his own pocket, Republican candidate for governor Walt Havenstein is keeping pace in the race for campaign money with Democratic incumbent Maggie Hassan.
According to reports filed today with the Secretary of State, Havenstein reports a campaign war chest of $1,989,876. That includes $1,474,000 in personal loans and another $17,000 from other family members.
Hassan has raised $2,097,392, the most reported by a candidate for governor at this stage of an election, according to her campaign. The governor reports having $1.2 million in the bank.
Havenstein has more than $1.3 million on hand, giving him an enormous cash advantage over his primary opponent, Andrew Hemingway, who raised just over $100,000. That includes a $24,450 personal loan. Three weeks before the September 9 primary, Hemingway has a little more than $38,000 in the bank.
"Walt is also the only candidate with the capacity and resources to take on Maggie Hassan in November,” said Havenstein’s communications director Henry Goodwin. “Whether we like it or not, candidates need money to win; it's the world we live in. Republicans want to take back the Governor's office and will nominate Walt as the only person who can do that.”
Havenstein certainly isn’t the first gubernatorial candidate to rely on his private wealth to seek the corner office. In 2002, Republican Craig Benson became governor after spending $10 million of his own money, most of it during the primary. Two years later, John Lynch beat Benson after dipping into his personal bank account for $2.1 million, more than two thirds of the $3 million he raised that campaign. Lynch spent another $850,000 in 2010, more than 40 percent of the total raised for his re-election.
Hassan’s candidate committee, Maggie ’14, received contributions from more than 3,300 individuals, more than half of whom gave $100 or less, according to her campaign.
“The strong grassroots support our campaign has received from across the state demonstrates that Granite Staters appreciate Governor Hassan’s efforts to solve problems and get real results for New Hampshire’s people, businesses and economy,” said campaign manager Marc Goldberg.
Hassan also received dozens of larger contributions, including a total of $50,000 from Emily’s List, a political action committee that backs pro-choice Democratic women candidates around the country. The contributions came in two separate $25,000 contributions, dated June 4 and June 10, before Hassan officially declared she would seek re-election.
Earlier this month, Hassan was forced to return a total of $33,000 she received from two labor unions after the Attorney General’s office ruled they were received after June 12, when Hassan officially declared her candidacy.
State law permits unlimited PAC contributions before a candidate declares; after that, contributions from political committees are limited to $1,000 for candidates who, like Hassan, do not agree to abide by a voluntary spending cap agree to a spending cap.
Results from the latest WMUR Granite State poll, released today, show Hassan leading Havenstein and Hemingway by double-digits.