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Lamontagne leads in campaign funding

Republican gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne has more than a 2-1 money advantage over Democrat Maggie Hassan with less than three weeks remaining until the Nov. 6 election.

That's actually an improvement for Hassan, who trailed Lamontagne by a nearly 16-1 ratio in terms of cash on hand immediately following the Sept. 11 primary. She's raised $470,000 since then, more than the $302,000 he's collected in donations.

As of Monday, Lamontagne's campaign had nearly $286,000 on hand, compared with a little more than $134,000 for Hassan's campaign, according to campaign-finance reports due yesterday afternoon to the secretary of state's office.

Lamontagne's report was not filed before the 5 p.m. deadline; campaign spokesman Tom Cronin blamed a problem with the fax transmission and provided the Monitor with summary numbers from the report. Hassan's campaign had filed its complete report about 4:30 p.m.

There is no penalty under state law for a late filing.

Hassan, a former state senator from Exeter, raised nearly $1.1 million ahead of the Sept. 11 primary but spent almost all of it to defeat Jackie Cilley and capture the Democratic nomination.

She entered the general election with just $16,000 on hand, compared with $258,000 in the bank for Lamontagne, a Manchester attorney who had an easier victory over Kevin Smith in the GOP primary.

But she's raised more than $470,000 in the past month, according to the report filed yesterday, and spent nearly $353,000. As of Monday, she had a little more than $134,000 on hand.

In a news release, Hassan's campaign said more than 2,100 individuals have donated money since the Sept. 11 primary. More than 5,500 people have given money to Hassan's campaign in total, with 77 percent giving $100 or less, according to the release.

'I am heartened by the outpouring of support from voters across New Hampshire for our vision to create jobs and keep our state moving forward,' Hassan said in a statement.

Among her larger donors: famed filmmaker Ken Burns, a Walpole resident who's given Hassan a total of $3,500 including $1,000 on Oct. 1, and Joseph Morone, the president and chief executive officer of Rochester-based Albany International, who has donated $8,100 including $1,000 on Sept. 28.

As for Lamontagne's campaign, it has raised nearly $302,000 since the Sept. 11 primary and spent more than $274,000, leaving it with nearly $286,000 in the bank as of Monday.

Libertarian John Babiarz of Grafton is also running for governor. He reported $217.36 on hand as of Monday, having spent $522.64 and raised $740 - including a $500 contribution from himself.

But even the amounts raised by Hassan and Lamontagne are dwarfed by outside spending in the gubernatorial race. The Live Free PAC, which is funded by the Republican Governors Association, yesterday reported spending nearly $5.81 million so far on the race.

A filing wasn't available for the New Hampshire Freedom Fund, a subsidiary of the Democratic Governors Association, but New Hampshire Public Radio reported last week that the group had reserved more than $2.5 million in television-advertising time for the final month of the campaign.

(Ben Leubsdorf can be reached at 369-3307 or bleubsdorf@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @BenLeubsdorf.)

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