Clean Funding Secure

There's one more important result of the Williams decision that I didn't mention at Down East (thanks to newly-elected Bowdoinham Selectman Dan Billings for cluing me in).

Because there will be no publicly-funded Green candidate in the general, the clean elections fund should now remain solvent throughout the election.

According to calculations done by the Ethics Commission staff, even if all four candidates (McGowan, Mitchell, Richardson and Mills) likely to qualify do so, each receives the maximum disbursement of matching funds, and Mills and one of the Democrats go on to the general election and receive the maximum there, the fund will still have a small surplus.

Here's a scenario they proposed which is similar (but not identical) to the largest outlay of money that we could now see.

Under this scenario, the fund would still have an estimated $230,832 left (minus $200,000 if you replace the "other candidate" with a Democrat and if the Republican makes it to the general).

The candidates running clean now have one less thing to worry about.

Update: After a chat with Jonathan Wayne at the Ethics Commission, I realize that there's still a chance the fund could be exhausted. Changing the presented scenario to have four candidates running in the primary, all with maximum disbursements, would increase the cost by $400,000, not the $200,000 I wrote above, and would put the fund a bit into the red.

This however, is not a very likely scenario.

The probable response by the commission to such a series of events going into the general election, according to Wayne, would be for the two candidates to receive their full initial funds and be informed that they could raise a relatively small amount of money in private contributions to make up for any potential shortfall in matching funds. If the third, privately-funded candidate in the race (or independent candidate-supporting groups) spent enough to exhaust all matching funds, the candidates could then spend the money they had raised.