One of the state's leading environmental groups is jumping into the gubernatorial contest with television ads.
The political action committee for Maine Conservation Voters will begin running a television spot next week supporting Democrat Mike Michaud and opposing Republican Gov. Paul LePage, according to files posted by the Federal Communications Commission. The size of the buy is not yet clear from the FCC documents, but a consultant not affiliated with the group indicated that it's at least $425,000.
A lobbyist for the organization confirmed that the ad was forthcoming. Maureen Drouin, a spokeswoman for the league, would not discuss details of the ad.
The group is one of several expected to pepper the airwaves during the race for the Blaine House. Campaign finance watchdogs have predicted that ads and spending by outside groups will likely dwarf the money spent by the individual campaign committees. The Maine Conservation Action PAC has a history of getting involved in legislative races and targeting candidates who have made its so-called "dirty dozen" list. In 2012, the group's PAC spent over $70,000, including over $50,000 on independent expenditures that attempted to influence legislative contests.
The PAC has more firepower this time, thanks to large contributions from aligned progressive PACs and donors, and in particular, a $250,000 contribution from the treasury of its parent organization, the League of Conservation Voters. The Maine PAC has taken in over $400,000 through July 31.
The League's federal PAC spent over $2.2 million on congressional races in 2012. The organization and its aligned super PAC have already spent nearly $5 million during this year's mid-term contests. The nonprofit organization listed nearly $37 million in gross receipts, according to its 2012 tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service.
Below is a spreadsheet of the donors to the Maine Conservation Voters PAC.