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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lamontagne, Hassan hold strong fund-raising leads over primary rivals

CONCORD – Republican Ovide Lamontagne and Democrat Maggie Hassan hold big leads in fundraising and cash on hand over their respective gubernatorial primary rivals Kevin Smith and Jackie Cilley.

Lamontagne, at $1.2 million, and Hassan, at $930,135, were well out in front on campaign checks, according to campaign finance reports due Tuesday.

Hassan and Cilley reported what each had raised in June. Tuesday was the first public disclosure that Lamontagne or Smith had to make of their campaign spending because of how their campaign committees were set up.

But to raise that much more, Lamontagne and Hassan outspent their opponents by overwhelming amounts.

The ex-Senate Majority Leader Hassan has spent about $829,000, four and a half times what former Democratic Sen. Cilley has spent, at just under $181,000.

Lamontagne has spent nearly $464,000, or about double the $230,000 in expenses from Smith, a Litchfield political consultant and first-time GOP candidate for major office.

With less than three weeks before the Sept. 11 primary, Lamontagne is sitting on a campaign war chest of about $718,000. That’s seven times the size of Smith’s campaign bank account, $101,123.

With Hassan spending significant money on television advertising, her current cash advantage over Cilley was much smaller.

As of Wednesday, Hassan had nearly $101,000 in the bank, while Cilley was left with roughly half that, at $52,500.

To this point, Lamontagne reported having spent $57,000 on TV advertising, $25,000 for the Tarrance Group to do “research services” and $54,000 with Devine Millimet Strategies that employs his campaign manager, Jim Merrill.

Hassan spent about $220,000 on production and media time for her TV ads that began running two weeks ago and another $91,000 on direct mail.

Smith spent nearly $139,000 with the Alexandria, Va., consulting company that was buying and producing radio and cable TV commercials that have aired for the GOP contender.

Cilley’s report shows only about $10,000 spent on advertising; her TV commercials began airing last week.

Meanwhile, House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, has already raised nearly $29,000 for his re-election to a House seat representing Mont Vernon and New Boston.

He faces a three-way GOP primary for two seats.

O’Brien spent about $19,500 thus far, including a $10,000 check he wrote in June to the House Republican Victory PAC that supports GOP candidates and incumbents running for other House seats.

O’Brien had $9,350 left in his account.

Big donors to O’Brien included $5,000 apiece from the New Hampshire Advantage Coalition of Salem, Reed Larson of Williamsburg, Va., and the Collingsworth Co., the latter owned by former Republiican Gov. Craig Benson.

The New Hampshire Democratic Party reported raising more than $684,000. Of that, $616,000 has been spent. The New Hampshire Republican State Committee raised much less to date, $129,000, spending $99,000 so far.

Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).