September 03. 2018 9:39PM

Some candidates already have won race for campaign cash

New Hampshire Union Leader

With a week to go before pivotal primaries, Democrat Maura Sullivan of Portsmouth and Republican Andy Sanborn of Bedford are sitting on campaign war chests much larger than their rivals running in the 1st Congressional District.

Thanks to his own personal wealth, former Veterans Administration whistleblower Stewart Levenson of Hopkinton has at least five times as much money at his disposal than his three major GOP foes in the 2nd Congressional District race.

All candidates had to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commissions by the end of August detailing donations and expenses from July 1 through Aug. 22. Since this is the last major report before the elections, it’s widely watched by political observers.

“This really is the 10-day report which tells you how much money the candidates have for the last push,” said Greg Moore, who helped manage Republican John Stephen’s two campaigns for Congress and one for governor.

“By this point there are no secrets; all the cards are on the table.”

Since announcing her decision to run, Sullivan has been raising money at a historic clip, an impressive feat for someone who moved to New Hampshire less than two years ago.

She’s parlayed her service as a U.S. Marine captain in the Iraq War and two jobs in the Obama administration to raise nearly $1.8 million.

While she’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV commercials, Sullivan’s most recent filing indicated she still had $810,318 in her campaign treasury.

That’s nearly twice as much as all 10 of her primary rivals combined.

Executive Councilor Chris Pappas of Manchester is a distant second having raised $823,673 throughout the campaign. He ended this cycle with $348,852, less than half of what Sullivan had on hand.

Over the report’s six weeks, Sullivan spent $383,000 on campaign advertisements, more than three times the $125,000 Pappas had spent on ads.

All the other 1st District Democratic candidates who filed showed few assets for the final weeks.

Former Strafford County Attorney Lincoln Soldati of Somersworth had $35,466 left in the bank while former congressional Chief of Staff Naomi Andrews of Epping had about $34,000 left for the final days. Deaghlan McEachern of Portsmouth was down to about $31,000 remaining.

In the Republican primary, former police chief Eddie Edwards of Dover raised significantly more money in the race than Sanborn has, just under $600,000 compared to Sanborn’s $337,000.

But Sanborn gave $511,216 in loans to his campaign compared to Edwards’ $29,000 contribution to his campaign.

That’s why Sanborn has $548,194 in the bank for the stretch run while Edwards is down to $175,469.

In the 2nd District, all the Republican challengers trying to unseat Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster have struggled to raise money.

Levenson has the most money now at $170,275, primarily because he’s contributed $305,000 of his own money to the effort.

State Rep. Steve Negron, R-Nashua, has loaned his campaign $228,875 but, according to his most recent filing, it had a balance of just $37,000.

Likewise, former State Rep. Lynne Blackenbeker of Concord had $26,039 left over after she had not been able to break the $100,000 mark in total donations.

Former Hillsborough County Treasurer Robert Burns of Bedford had only $2,730 in his GOP candidate account after loaning his campaign $12,000.

Whomever wins the Republican nomination in next Tuesday’s 2nd District primary, Kuster is sure to have an overwhelming financial advantage.

She had $2.8 million in her campaign account after raising nearly $3 million in the race, including nearly $1 million from political action committees representing special-interest groups.