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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lynch, top opponent close in remaining funds

CONCORD – Gov. John Lynch out-raised his leading Republican opponent, but they have similar war chests with less than seven weeks to go to the Nov. 2 general election.

Lynch, a three-term Democrat raised $1.3 million since winning his third straight term in 2008. Lynch raised similar amounts by this time prior to his blowout, election victories in the last two elections.

He seeks to become the first in modern history to win a fourth consecutive, two-year term.

Manchester Republican candidate John Stephen raised nearly $975,000 since he became a candidate last February.

To date, Lynch has spent four times as much as Stephen has and that’s why despite raising much less money, Stephen has $794,000 left over while Lynch has $745,000.

Since the race began, Lynch spent $571,000 while Stephen spent $117,000.

“John Stephen has $50,000 more cash on hand than the sitting governor; that’s a pretty good place to be,” said Greg Moore, spokesman for the Stephen campaign.

The Stephen campaign report was not publicly available because the candidate missed the 5 p.m. deadline for filing it.

Moore blamed it on an accounting error that caused it to be faxed late to Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

Lynch Campaign Manager Pamela Walsh noted that Lynch had 1,702 donors with nearly half of them giving less than $100.

Of those donors, 84 percent were from the state, Walsh said.

Democratic partisans would note Lynch has led Stephen in early opinion polling – some by wide margins – and despite the sour economic times Lynch still tracks as one of the most popular, incumbent Democratic governors in the country.

Thus far, Lynch spent $127,000 on TV advertising, all of it in response to attack ads that the National Organization for Marriage launched against Lynch on taxes and spending.

NOM is targeting Lynch this year because Lynch dropped his past opposition and ultimately signed in 2009 a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.

Lynch spent another $47,000 on media consulting work.

Stephen has not aired any TV or radio commercials but is expected to air some well before the Sept. 14 primary.

Activist Karen Testerman, R-Franklin, was the only other candidate for governor to turn in her report.

She raised $28,542 thus far and spent all but $2,777 of it.

Jack Kimball, R-Dover, and Frank Emiro, R-Londonderry, did not turn in reports.

In local races of interest, the two state senators representing Nashua and surrounding towns – Bette Lasky of Nashua and Peggy Gilmour of Hollis – out-raised their Republican challengers.

The two GOP rivals – Gary Lambert of Nashua and Jim Luther of Hollis – have self-financed much of their campaign in the early going.

Lambert raised $26,442 thus far and had $24,120 in the bank; Lasky raised $32,506 since winning the seat in 2008 and had $26,506 left over.

Lambert donated about $12,000 of his own money to the campaign.

Gilmour had a bigger advantage, having raised $44,205 since the campaign began with $28,960 in current surplus.

Luther raised $12,685 and had $10,109 left in his account.

To date, Luther has kicked in $6,100 of his own money and family members gave another $4,000.

Many Nashua businessmen gave to Lambert, including Nashua car dealer John Tulley ($1,000), rug sales company owner Hussien Mahfuz of Merrimack ($500), Nashua finance executive Thomas Tessier ($1,000), Nashua moving company executive J. Martin McLaughlin ($500), and Nashua beer distributor Joe Bellevance ($500).

Donors to Lasky included her predecessor, Nashua Democrat David Gottesman’s campaign ($500), Michael Clemons of Nashua ($1,000), Manchester trial lawyers Kevin Dugan and Mark Abramson ($1,000 apiece), her husband Dr. Elliot Lasky ($500) and the Professional Fire Fighters of New Hampshire ($1,000.)

Donors to Gilmour’s re-election since 2008 included former Hollis Republican Sen. Jim Squires ($200), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers ($2,500), Professional Fire Fighters ($2,000), Granite State Teamsters ($750), Portsmouth Democratic Sen. Martha Fuller Clark ($1,000), Manchester Democratic Sen. Lou D’Allesandro ($500), Public Service of New Hampshire’s employee PAC ($950) and the Nashua Fire Fighters PAC ($1,000).

Along with family, other donors to Luther have included Doug Carter of Nashua ($500), Merrimack Auto ($100) and Mark Ledoux of Hollis ($1,000).

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashuatelegraph.com.