Snowe may not give war chest to Republican candidate

Posted Wednesday, April 25, 2012 in News

Snowe may not give war chest to Republican candidate

AUGUSTA -- In a letter to her donors, Olympia Snowe said the millions she amassed in contributions may be used to support "like-minded" candidates, a center to give "a national voice" to the "sensible center" and an institute to promote Maine women leaders.

Significantly, she did not say she would give the funds to the state Republican party, or give it to any candidate running as a Republican for her U.S. Senate seat.

According to her latest disclosure with the Federal Elections Commission, Snowe has accumulated $3.5 million in donations. The campaign has $2.36 million in cash and no debt.  Although Snowe could not be reached for comment, it is known that one of her early supportive organizations was OneMaine, the centrist poltical action committee run by Eliot Cutler.  Calls to OneMaine were not returned by presstime.

Snowe's options include establishing or giving funds to a political action committee to support candidates, giving the funds directly to one of the candidates running for office, or giving the funds to the Republican party.  She could also refund the donors directly.  Charlie Webster, chair of Maine's GOP, said that he thought it "unlikely" that Snowe would give the money to the state party, said he understood that Snowe may not want to give the money to her party.

"There are people that gave to her that would not necessarily give to the Republican Party," he said. "I don't have a problem with it."

Of the candidates running for Senate, on the Republican side, Attorney General William Schneider was given Snowe's email list of supporters.  Her campaign also has ties to Charlie Summers, who served on Snowe's staff, and Rick Bennett, who was her treasurer.  All are considered moderates. 

She is less likely to support Bruce Poliquin's bid, nor Scott D'Amboise's run, as both have tea party connections.  Debra Plowman is also unlikely to receive support because of her staunch pro-life views.

Independent Angus King, however, may receive some funding.  He is also endorsed by OneMaine. 

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