With just three weeks left until the Nov. 8 election, money continues to pour into Portland’s election season — mostly on one side of the ledger.
The biggest recipient is Enough is Enough, a coalition led by former City Councilor Nick Mavodones composed of landlords, real estate firms, restaurant owners and hospitality workers, raised more than $439,000 according to the first round of campaign finance filings. Enough is Enough opposes all thirteen ballot questions.
Their list of funders includes huge donations from corporations, real estate firms and developers. The coalition received large-scale donations to the tune of $50,000 apiece from San Francisco-based delivery and rideshare companies DoorDash and Uber. They also raked in big money from the Greater Portland Community Chamber of Commerce ($25,000); Seaforth Housing, a San Francisco-based real estate company has property in Portland ($25,000); the Maine Association of Realtors ($20,000); the Southern Maine Landlord Association ($15,000); the Greater Portland Board of Realtors ($12,500), Portland-based real estate brokers Boulos Company ($10,000); and New York-based development company Deering Property Development, which owns 383 Congress St. ($7,500). The Maine Association of Commercial Realtors ($5,000), Bellport Property Management, and two donors from the Fathom Cos., which operates the Press Hotel, gave $5,000. And they got $15,000 from Steve DiMillo, owner of DiMillo’s on the Water and an unsuccessful Charter Commission candidate in 2021.
Several $25,000 donations came in from groups with P.O. Boxes listed in Westbrook, but with Portland landmark names. These included groups called 167 Fore Street, which is the location of the Ocean Gateway Garage; 0 Hancock Street, which is the Wex headquarters; and 100 Fore Street, the former Wex building where the Roux Institute currently resides. Portland development firm Redfern Properties donated roughly $30,000 from several variations of its name.
Several other organizations have also filed finance reports with the city. The Maine Democratic Socialists of America for a Livable Portland, who proposed four of the referendum questions, raised over $9,300 by the first reporting deadline. Their biggest donations included $2,000 from their own coffers and another $1,000 from reporter and DSA member Kate Sykes; $1,600 from Massachusetts resident Michael Soldat; and just under $1,200 from Progressive Portland, a left-liberal organization founded by activist Steven Biel.
Protect Portland’s Future, which opposes Questions 2 and 5 from the Charter Commission, have raised over $23,000 in their campaign, with donations from DiMillo ($5,000), commercial broker Joseph Malone ($5,000); $3,000 from Bob Napolitano, the owner of Bruno’s restaurant; and several other donations ranging from $60 up to $500.
Restaurant Industry United, who oppose Question D to raise the minimum wage, have raised $128,700. This includes $50,000 from the Washington D.C.-based National Restaurant Association; $15,000 from DiMillo’s on the Water; $7,000 from Bruno’s; and $25,000 from DoorDash and Uber each.
Fair Elections Portland, who support the Charter Commission’s proposed Question 3, have raised over $3,200.
The 8 is Great campaign, otherwise known as Yes for Democracy who are supporting the Charter Commission proposals and founded by members of the Charter Commission, have raised $3,790, though that includes a $3,000 loan from Zach Barowitz, a charter commissioner and member of the group.
One Fair Wage Portland, who are supporting Question D, raised $5,000 from the Boston-based One Fair Wage group, which supports ending subminimum wage around the country.