The TV station WMTW News 8 reported that Emily Cain has pulled out of what was to be the final debate in the 2nd Congressional District election. As a result, the station will not be holding the debate.
The report says that Cain is skipping the debate “in protest” because the independent candidate, Blaine Richardson, was not invited. The TV station says they and their parent company, Hearst Television, have strict criteria to determine who qualifies for debates and that Richardson does not meet those criteria.
“He has not held any major campaign events, he has consistently been polling in the single digits, and he has only raised a fraction of the money that the other candidates have,” the story, by Paul Merrill, says.
Merrill said Bruce Poliquin is willing to attend the debate.
It makes perfect sense that Cain would want Richardson to be in the picture and Poliquin would not. Richardson is a former Republican and falls to the right of the GOP’s candidate on many issues. Political observers say that if Richardson is going to have any impact on the race, it will be to siphon votes away from Poliquin.
“Richardson hovering at 3 to 6 percent could be the difference,” said Vic Berardelli of the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus.
“There are a lot of people that are concerned about whether he’ll be the spoiler in the race,” he said, referring to Richardson.
Cain’s press secretary, Amy Cookson, clarified on Thursday afternoon that Cain never pulled out the the debate, because she never committed to participate in it.
All three candidates participated in the other three other debates that have taken place so far during this election cycle. The first one was hosted by WGME and the BDN in Portland, the second was hosted by MPBN in Lewiston and the third was hosted by WAGM in Presque Isle.
A fourth and apparently final debate will take place Thursday night at the WCSH6 studios in Portland and all three candidates are expected to attend.