Sara Gideon ended challenge to Maine Sen. Susan Collins with nearly $15M in cash

The Democrat has since donated $350,000 to two Maine charities

Sara Gideon, Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins' 2020 challenger, conceded the race with nearly $15 million in donations in the bank. 

The Democratic Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives lost to Collins by 70,237 votes on Election Day, or 50.99% to 42.41%.

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The election -- a referendum on Collins -- turned out to be the most expensive political campaign in state history.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Collins raised more than $29 million and spent around the same amount, and Gideon raised close to $75 million and spent nearly $60 million.

Gideon's $14.8 million in cash on hand was disclosed Friday in a Federal Election Commission report

The report shows that from Oct. 15 through Election Day, Gideon took in more than $6 million, Roll Call reported Thursday.

The FEC has stringent regulations regarding campaign finances and how leftover funds can be used.

While candidates can put the cash toward campaign bills, expenses and debts or make a charitable donation, personal use is prohibited. 

Gideon announced Friday she would donate around $350,000 to two Maine nonprofit charities. Of that, $250,000 will go to Full Plates Full Potential and $100,000 to Keep ME Warm. 

Full Plates Full Potential focuses on ending childhood hunger -- working through the pandemic -- and Keep ME Warm provides heating assistance, according to NBC's News Center Maine.

“Full Plates, Full Potential and Keep ME Warm work every day to help Maine families through this difficult time, and I’m proud to support them,” Gideon said in a news release explaining her decision.

“I’ve always believed that public service is about making a difference and improving the lives of people in your community. Helping Maine people is what inspired me to run for office and it’s what continues to guide me today," she added.

Roll Call also noted that Gideon had sent money to Georgia's two Democratic Senate candidates ahead of the highly-anticipated Jan. 5 runoff elections

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The twin Peach State races will decide control of the upper chamber. 

Gideon, a progressive who was known for her bipartisan efforts, is not the only Democratic Senate candidate with some extra cash on hand following Nov. 3. 

South Carolina's Jaime Harrison -- who lost to incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham -- reported around $840,000, though his fundraising efforts totaled more than $130 million.