- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Democrat Steve Marchand said Friday he’ll accept voluntary state spending limits in his gubernatorial campaign and urged candidates in both parties to do the same.

The spending limit prohibits a gubernatorial candidate from spending more than $625,000 in the primary and $625,000 in the general. Candidates accept or decline the limit when they file their official paperwork.

Marchand, who is expected to file Wednesday, says he’s accepting the limit “in the spirit of reducing the corrosive influence of big money in politics.” Accepting the limit will allow Marchand to focus less on the “endless hamster wheel of fundraising” and more on interacting with voters, he said. The limit does bring one advantage: Candidates who follow it can raise up to $5,000 per individual, while those who don’t are limited to $1,000.

Marchand faces Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and businessman Mark Connolly in the Democratic primary on Sept. 13. Four Republicans are also in the race.

So far, no other candidates in the Democratic and Republican races have accepted Marchand’s challenge.

Many of the candidates won’t file their first fundraising and spending reports until August, making it hard to know who’s at a financial advantage. Van Ostern has committed to releasing his report in June and says his opponents should do so, too.

Spending in past competitive primaries in New Hampshire has varied widely. In 2014, incumbent Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan spent just over $1 million during the primary period, while Republican Walt Havenstein spent $1.2 million. Republican Andrew Hemingway, who struggled to raise money, spent just $70,000. He accepted the limit.

In 2012, when Hassan was running in a Democratic primary, she again spent more than $1 million in the primary. But her Democratic opponent Jackie Cilley spent just $340,000.


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