Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: A fool for everyone

Time to dispose of a few inconsequential gubernatorial candidates.

With 25 people officially running, the field is filled with oddballs who should be doing something less demeaning. Reality TV, maybe.

Democratic state Rep. Dawn Hill may have recognized this. Hill recently ended her nonexistent campaign (motto: Who? For What? You’re Kidding?). She's now working on her strategy for losing a state Senate race.


Al Diamon

Democrat Eriq Manson and Green Independent Patrick Quinlan have both placed their candidacies on inactive status. Not a major change.

Most of the non-party candidates will claim they deserve the benefit of the doubt. OK. I doubt they can raise much money. I doubt they can get on the ballot. I doubt they have as much support as Dawn Hill.

Allow me to do what they lack the nerve to do. It’s all over for no-chancers Sam Bailey, Chris Cambron, Beverly Cooper-Pete, Augustus Edgerton, Alex Hammer and John Whitcomb. I'm sure years of therapy will help you all understand what compelled you to run for an office you were utterly unqualified to hold.

Lest you think I’m prejudiced against independents, allow me to eliminate a few major party non-contenders. That’s it for Republican J. Martin Vachon (attempting to repeat his 2006 performance of failing to gather the required signatures) and Democrats Peter Truman (convicted of stealing Clean Election money) and Donna Dion (a former mayor of Biddeford, with emphasis on “former").

That leaves seven GOP candidates, five Democrats, one Green and an independent. More thinning is needed.

Finance reports turned in last week should help. Republicans Matt Jacobson and Paul LePage will have to make better-than-expected showings (supermarket coupons don’t count), or both will be relegated to the category of candidates circling the drain in a counterclockwise direction. Jacobson’s hope of support from GOP moderates in the business community was dashed by the entry into the race of Steve Abbott, ex-chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. LePage has yet to gain traction outside Waterville, where he's mayor, leaving his campaign in a Dawn Hill-like valley.

Former Husson University president Bill Beardsley just announced his quirky quest for the GOP nomination. It would be presumptuous of me to write him off in the first paragraph I've ever written about him.

But Beardsley is unknown outside Bangor and academia, has no experience campaigning and needs support from the same people who’re backing Abbott. So, I'll write him off in this paragraph, instead.

That leaves a manageable Republican field of Abbott (did I mention I used to be Susan Collins’ top guy?), developer Bruce Poliquin (did I mention I’ve got lots of money?), failed ski mogul Les Otten (did I mention that, in spite of my setbacks, I've still got lots of money?) and state Sen. Peter Mills (did I mention I vote a lot with the Democrats? If not, I have a lengthy, mind-numbing explanation for that).

My bet's on Abbott.

As for the Dems, former state conservation commissioner Pat McGowan has pluses – he’s an excellent retail politician and the only candidate in his party from the 2nd District – and minuses – he’s running a publicly funded campaign, which could leave him with too little cash to compete with privately funded competition, and he’s closely tied to the current governor, who's popular like trench mouth.

Ex-Attorney General Steve Rowe has organization, endorsements, commitment and intelligence. If only he weren't duller than Peter Mills.

Senate President Libby Mitchell is filled with concern about the economic suffering – of state employees. That should play well in the hinterlands.

John Richardson, until recently the state commissioner of economic development, has all McGowan’s minuses and none of his pluses. He'll also have to compete with Mitchell in pandering for the support of organized labor.

Rosa Scarcelli, a developer of low-income housing, has money and big-name advisors who’ve told her to play the outsider role for all its worth. In a Democratic primary, that won't be much.

Rowe will win if he finds an image that doesn’t scream “tedious policy wonk.” McGowan could pull an upset if he manages his money perfectly, although financial management doesn't seem to be a strength of the Baldacci administration.

Green Independent Lynne Williams is assured of her party’s nomination by virtue of being the only contender. Can she get enough votes in the fall to maintain the Green's official party status? Probably not.

Independent Eliot Cutler has cash and some influential backers, but his efforts to attract moderates of all types won’t go anywhere if he doesn't stop campaigning like he was trying to cure sleep deprivation.

I think it'll come down to Abbott and Rowe in November, with the Republican taking the Blaine House by a narrow margin, thanks to Cutler and Williams siphoning votes from the Democrat.

There, the field is down to one.

If I’m wrong, I don't want to hear about it at aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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6 Responses »

  1. Al is RIGHT ON, cheaper than any poll, and more entertaining. But it might not be as narrow as he thinks in November. Unless it's Abbott vs. McGowan.

  2. I think you jumped to a quick conclusion about Bruce Poliquin. He does have a lot of money, but he also has raised more money from individuals than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican. This past filing period he had over 1000 contributors and has raised over $300,000 from individual citizens. Bruce has the grassroots already set up and will pull ahead of Abbott in the next couple months. I am a College Republican and I know that Bruce has a very strong presence among us, everybody I know that has seen him loves his enthusiasm for the campaign but also his friendliness. I have never met a man as genuine as Bruce Poliquin and genuine is a word not often found when describing politicians. Then again, Bruce is not a politician, he is a businessman who knows the hoops our state is making employers jump through and he knows how to fix that.

  3. Some may wonder who would make the best governor?

    No relevant. We're talking real politics here.

  4. Well, lets just say that the next governor of Maine, better know how to create jobs better then the Obama administration.

    found this little "job creator" in the stimulus package for Maine.

    - $1.3 million on government arts jobs in Maine, including $30,000 for basket makers, $20,000 for storytelling and $12,500 for a music festival.

    I better improve my story telling if i want to make money in the age of Obama!

  5. If I am not mistaken the legislature changed the rules for ballot status and Lynne Williams doesnt need 5% any longer- she just needs a certain number of registered greens to vote at all (10,000?) OR 5% to maintain ballot status. I think that many Greens will vote regardless.

  6. i think maybe its time for Maine to consider a run off election, if no one candidate captures over 50 % of the vote on election day we re-vote for the top two! Clearly Baldy only supported by 38% +/- n his reelection has hurt Maine.

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