Anton tops in election fundraising


High roller: City Councilor John Anton raised more campaign cash than any other candidate last year. (photo/courtesy Anton)
High roller: City Councilor John Anton raised more campaign cash than any other candidate last year. (photo/courtesy Anton)

Anton tops in election fundraising 
Skolnik, Duson take Ocean Properties cash

By Chris Busby

John Anton outspent all of his challengers during his successful campaign last fall to win one of two at-large seats on the Portland City Council. City Councilor Jill Duson raised and spent less than half of Anton’s total in her bid to keep the other at-large seat, representing the entire city. Her former colleague, Jim Cloutier, spent nearly twice as much as she did, but finished third in the four-way race.

Now that all of last fall’s candidates for municipal office in Portland have submitted campaign finance reports, some interesting details are coming to light.

In the race for the City Council seat representing District 3 (which includes the Libbytown, Stroudwater, Sagamore Village and Rosemont neighborhoods), attorney Dan Skolnik outspent his three challengers and won the race. 

A few days after the election, Skolnik said he received “unsolicited contributions” from executives of Ocean Properties, the New Hampshire-based development company that bid to redevelop the Maine State Pier. In an e-mail to The Bollard, Skolnik said he returned those contributions because the vote to choose a developer for the pier had not yet taken place. 

Skolnik favored Ocean Properties’ plan for the pier over the proposal submitted by The Olympia Companies. On Dec. 3, the City Council voted to begin negotiations with Olympia. 

In his e-mail, Skolnik said that on Dec. 13, Ocean Properties executives offered him campaign contributions again, and this time he accepted the money. Skolnik’s campaign filing indicates that Ocean Properties execs Bob Baldacci, Patrick Walsh and William Walsh all contributed the maximum $250 allowed by law.


Timing is everything: City Councilor Dan Skolnik. (photo/courtesy Skolnik)
Timing is everything: City Councilor Dan Skolnik. (photo/courtesy Skolnik)

Last November’s election broke the Council stalemate over which developer to pick for the pier project. Shortly before Election Day, accusations flew that Olympia was trying to influence the outcome by donating money to The League, a political group that endorsed Anton, Skolnik, and Duson [see “City races get nasty in final stretch,” Oct. 31, 2007, in News]. Baldacci said Olympia President and CEO Kevin Mahaney’s $10,000 contribution to The League “smacks of someone trying to buy the election.” Mahaney and League director Justin Alfond dismissed such talk as nonsense. Alfond pointed out that Skolnik and Duson both supported Ocean Properties’ plan and got The League’s backing.

Duson accepted $100 from Baldacci in late October, her filing indicates. Cloutier’s filings do not show any contributions from Ocean Properties, which he also favored to redevelop the pier. 

Anton accepted a total of $400 from four people associated with Olympia’s bid, which he favored. They include architect Winton Scott ($100), whose firm worked on Olympia’s pier plan; Alan Holt ($100), who led presentations of Olympia’s plan, and his business partner, Denis Lachman ($100), of Holt & Lachman Architects & Planners; and Jed Rathband ($100), who did public relations work for Olympia’s proposal.

Anton raised $13,693 and loaned his campaign $2,500, for a total of $16,193. Other notable contributors to his cause include restaurateur Steve DiMillo ($100), former city waterfront official Ben Snow ($250), and Cyrus Hagge ($250), who lost a City Council race in 2006 and participated in the focus group Olympia convened to help develop their pier plan. 

Cloutier raised $6,865 and loaned his campaign $7,171, for a total of $14,036. Notable contributors to his effort include former Councilor Donna Carr ($250), Bayside developers Ted West ($250) and Ross Furman ($250), and the Portland Democratic City Committee ($250).

Duson’s total was $7,819, including contributions totaling $5,705. Contributors of note include Carr ($250); attorney Harold Pachios ($250); real estate developers George Campbell (a former councilor and mayor; $250), Robert C.S. Monks ($250), and West ($250); Councilor Nick Mavodones ($250); and the Portland Democratic City Committee ($250). Former Councilor Karen Geraghty and her partner, Carol Kelly, each chipped in $75.

The fourth candidate in the race, postman Mark Reilly, raised just $1,625, including $50 from waterfront landowner Phineas Sprague Jr. 

In District 3, Skolnik led the pack with $8,081, including $5,931 in contributions (he loaned himself $2,150). Bold-face names on his list of contributors include State Sen. Ethan Strimling ($250) and his Congressional campaign manager, Corey Hascall ($100), as well as fellow attorney Gary Prolman ($250). 

District 3 challenger Tony Donovan raised more money than Skolnik, a total of $7,660, but did not loan his campaign any cash, and finished third in the four-way race. He accepted a total of $500 from Ocean Properties executives William and Patrick Walsh. 

Capt. Bill Linnell finished second and raised $3,330, including donations from Anton ($250) and Councilor Kevin Donoghue ($50). Councilor Dave Marshall made an in-kind contribution of campaign literature worth just over $60. The fourth candidate in the race, former State Rep. Dick Farnsworth, raised $2,100. 

In the race for two at-large seats on the Portland School Committee, the two winners also raised the most money. Top vote-getter Kate Snyder raised $7,205, including $250 contributions from Anton, fellow school board member Peter Eglinton, and Mayor Ed Suslovic and his wife. Jaimey Caron finished second and raised $940, including $250 from the local Democratic committee and $75 from school board member Robert O’Brien. Caron loaned his campaign nearly $4,000.

Law professor Orlando Delogu raised $3,119, including $250 from Mahaney, $200 from former Mayor Campbell, and $100 from real estate broker Joe Malone. Ben Meiklejohn raised just $1,355 for his reelection campaign, including a twenty-spot from Donoghue and $50 from Linnell. The fifth candidate in the race, Leslie Minton, raised no money and spent just $613. It’s unclear from her filings how she acquired that $613, though it was likely a loan she made to her campaign and neglected to account for properly on campaign finance documents.

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