When the Friends of Chuck Morse failed to file a financial disclosure last week, many Granite State political professionals were perplexed. Everyone from Republican Kelly Ayotte to Democrat Cinde Warmington was releasing their fundraising totals and filing them with the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office.

Why not the former state Senate president?

At the time, sources in the Morse campaign told NHJournal it was because they didn’t have to. The state election law requiring the June 19th filing contains a line missing from the other filing period mandates: “The report is not required to be filed by candidates.”

But now, as The Keene Sentinel first reported, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office has stepped in.

“All gubernatorial candidates’ campaigns were to file a campaign finance report last week,” according to a statement from the Attorney General’s Office. “When one did not, the New Hampshire Department of Justice Election Law Unit followed up. That campaign said it had some miscommunication with the Secretary of State’s Office. The Election Law Unit received assurances that a finance report would be filed by the campaign by early this week.”

While the Morse campaign never gave an explicit reason for declining to file, the issue appears to be the definition of “candidate,” as opposed to “candidate committee.” Morse, like the other major candidates for governor, clearly has a candidate committee, “Friends of Chuck Morse.”

Why did the campaign believe the filing mandate didn’t fall on it?

“We have always followed the guidance of the secretary of state in running our campaign,” spokesperson Maya Harvey told NHJournal. “The secretary of state recognizes the ambiguity of the law but has recommended that we file anyway. In deference to his request, we will file, despite that fact, it is not clear if we are actually required to.”

So, is Secretary of State Dave Scanlan the source of the confusion?

“I believe there was confusion related to interpreting the statute. I have had a conversation with Chuck Morse and expect that a receipt and expenditure report from his campaign for governor is forthcoming,” Scanlan told NHJournal.

“During this past legislative session, my office supported legislation designed to clarify the campaign finance statutes. That legislation will be heading to the governor for his signature. My office does not enforce those statutes, the Attorney General’s Office does.”

There is another candidate financial filing deadline on Aug. 21, just three weeks before the Sept. 10 primary. So the details of Morse’s fundraising are going to be public eventually. And whenever Morse releases his numbers, the total is going to be measured against Ayotte’s record-setting $4.2 million fundraising haul. The former U.S. senator reports $3.3 million cash on hand as well.

Ayotte has outraised the entire field on both sides, and nobody who spoke to NHJournal expects Morse to catch her in this week’s filing. His December documents showed $903,000 raised, well behind Ayotte’s $2.7 million in the same period.

Morse supporters argue he doesn’t need to raise as much money because he has grassroots support from the party’s Trump-friendly base. He just needs enough cash to remind GOP primary voters about Ayotte’s troubled relationship with Trump in 2016 and her vote for the failed “Gang of Eight” illegal immigration amnesty plan.

The Ayotte campaign points to support from MAGA Republicans like Trump state chairman Bruce Breton, as well as endorsements from libertarian and conservative activists in the party. And a new University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows Ayotte currently has the highest favorable rating of the four major candidates as well.

As for the Morse campaigning’s late filing, Ayotte supporters say it’s no big deal.

“We’re just interested in the number,” one Ayotte backer said.