Eliot Cutler’s campaign for governor, which by design is already lagging behind the ground game of the Republicans and Democrats, has parted ways with its chief field director.
Campaign manager Ted O’Meara on Monday, citing the issue as a personnel matter, wouldn’t say why the campaign split with Brandon Maheu of Fairfield, who had been working for Cutler since July of last year.
“I’m not going into a lot of detail about it,” said O’Meara. “We parted ways with Brandon last week. We appreciate his contributions to the campaign, but we’re moving on. We are still committed to having a strong field operation.”
O’Meara said the decision to cut ties with Maheu was mutually made.
“It was simply a decision that we made and we move on from here,” said O’Meara. Maheu led a three-person team, including himself, working in the field.
Maheu said Monday that he is not interested in commenting to the media about the situation.
Though Cutler, who nearly won the governorship in 2010, has built a statewide following, his field game – which means building a base of volunteers across Maine to plan his campaign events and more importantly, building voter lists and ensuring that his supporters go to the polls in November – remains his biggest challenge. There’s no question that in this regard he is at a disadvantage compared to incumbent Republican Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud, who both have their state party committees, national governors’ associations and other groups associated with the two major parties already in place to support them.
“They have a lot more resources at their disposal than we do, but we’re still invested in the field operation,” said O’Meara, who expects several campaign hires in the coming weeks, including a replacement for Maheu. He said the campaign is already talking to some candidates for the field director position but that no decisions have been made.
Maheu, who joined Cutler in July of 2013, has a history of working on campaigns, according to his LinkedIn profile. For 10 months in 2012 he was the field director for the Maine House Democratic Campaign Committee – after some previous stints in similar positions for the Democrats, including the Democratic National Committee. Prior to that he was campaign manager for Citizens Against the Oxford Casino and for Democrat Patrick McGowan’s failed primary bid to be governor in 2009-10. He was also a special assistant to Democratic Gov. John Baldacci from November 2005 to January 2006.
Maheu, of Fairfield, was paid $4,200 a month by Cutler from July through September 2013, according to Cutler’s online campaign expenditure report. In October, his salary was raised to $7,000 a month.