The campaign to re-elect Paul LePage for governor is billing tonight’s official campaign announcement by LePage as “one of the largest state candidate events in Maine history.”
Today is Election Day, but don’t worry if you’re still undecided about who you want to be the next governor. That election isn’t for another year.
The LePage campaign is expecting hundreds of people to attend the event this evening at the Buker Community Center in Augusta. If you don’t already have a ticket, chances are you won’t get in.
LePage’s senior political adviser, Brent Littlefield, says the event will highlight that the governor has broad support across Maine, including from Democrats and independents who will warm up the crowd for LePage’s speech. They include Cyndi Robbins, owner of Poland Springs Resort, who according to a press release from Littlefield is a registered Democrat who donated $500 to Democrat Mike Michaud in 2010 and 2012. Michaud is running against LePage and independent Eliot Cutler, though none of them will technically be candidates until they register with the Secretary of State next year.
Robbins said her support for LePage is due to his improving the business climate in Maine.
“Doing business is not only difficult when dealing with the ups and downs of the tourist seasons, it is also difficult doing business in a state that has not always been friendly to job creators,” said Robbins in Littlefield’s press release. “But I believe that has changed here in Maine.”
Also speaking on LePage’s behalf will be Theresa Dempsey, a U.S. Air Force veteran and independent voter who is drawn to LePage because of his work against domestic violence. Ending domestic violence has been one of LePage’s core projects. Dempsey will share details of her own story and talk about LePage’s well-known history as a domestic violence victim himself.
Also speaking on behalf of LePage will be Rick Bennett, former Senate President and current chairman of the Maine Republican Party.
LePage used his weekly message to Mainers, which is usually released later in the week and usually addresses a specific policy initiative, for a bit of a campaign speech. Though he doesn’t ask explicitly for votes — that would be a violation of election laws because the address was produced and circulated by taxpayer-funded state employees — the speech dances on the line and even uses what is shaping up to be the sharp-tongued governor’s campaign theme: “Actions Speak Louder than Words.” In addition to discussing his accomplishments and railing against high energy prices, too-expensive welfare programs and a business regulatory environment that he says still needs streamlining, LePage takes a swipe at his political opponents.
“Liberals would rather grow government and increase taxes to pay for programs that increase government dependency,” he said. “I want to right-size government and let you keep more of your hard-earned money.”
There has been a lot of focus in recent days and weeks about next year’s election, so much that it might overshadow the fact that Mainers will decide today on $150 million in state-level bonding as well as numerous local races and initiatives. For a primer on the five bond questions, check out the State & Capitol 2013 Maine Election Guide.
In Portland, voters will tackle marijuana legalization. Check out this exhaustive and interesting exploration of that issue by my BDN colleague Seth Koenig on his Seth and the City blog.
In South Portland, voters are deciding today on a Waterfront Protection Ordinance that will have effects far beyond Southern Maine. It essentially seeks to prevent the facilitation of tar sands exports from Canada through South Portland by banning the expansion and enlargement of petroleum-related facilities in certain waterfront districts.
As usual, you can break out some popcorn and watch all the up-to-the-minute election results and analysis courtesy of the Bangor Daily News. The first results are expected just after 8 p.m. today.