Thu, Aug 28, 2014 ●
BathHarpswellTopshamBrunswickCumberlandNorth YarmouthFalmouthFreeportPortlandCape ElizabethScarboroughSouth PortlandChebeague IslandYarmouth

The Universal Notebook: King in a landslide

Opinion

The Universal Notebook: King in a landslide

You’ve got to hand it to Republicans. They can’t govern their way out of a paper bag, but they sure are masters of dirty tricks. It’s just amazing how often GOP campaign strategists have resorted to underhanded techniques.

Let’s see, there was the swift-boating of John Kerry, a successful effort by a bunch of draft dodgers to make a combat veteran out to be a fraud. Worked so well they also pulled it on one of their own – John McCain. Lately, we’ve seen how Republicans have tried to suppress the vote in order to keep minorities and the young from voting. Didn’t work in Maine, but it has elsewhere.

Now we’ve got Republican moneybags playing "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" game, airing ads that pretend to support Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cynthia Dill in hopes that Dill can take enough votes away from independent former Gov. Angus King for Republican Secretary of State Charlie Summers to pull a LePage and eke out a narrow, unpopular win.

Ain’t gonna happen, boys.

Angus King has had hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars thrown at defeating him by groups like the U.S. Chamber of Horrors, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and a Trojan horse group calling itself Maine Freedom, but he is still going to win by a landslide. Here's why.

First, Maine people don’t much care for carpetbaggers and outside agitators. The out-of-state attacks on him are very apt to backfire in his favor. Mainers of both parties understand that Maine freedom means we need to get Super-PAC soft money out of our elections.

Then there are the undeniable facts that Angus King is 1) enormously popular and 2) the best qualified candidate in the U.S. Senate race.

As a liberal Democrat, I probably share most of Cynthia Dill’s views on the issues, but just because I agree with her doesn’t mean I think she is qualified to serve in the U.S. Senate. Cynthia Dill and Charlie Summers, in fact, strike me as a perfectly matched pair of politicians with more ambition than leadership experience. To be fair, of course, that’s how I felt about Barack Obama when he announced for president.

Dill served two years on the Cape Elizabeth Town Council before getting elected to the Maine House in 2006. In 2011, she won a special Maine Senate election, then promptly announced she was going to run for U.S. Senate. Hey, not so fast, Cynthia.

Summers served in the Maine Senate back in the 1990s, then worked as an aide to Sen. Olympia Snowe from 1995 to 2004, recently demonstrating his lack of loyalty by refusing to endorse Snowe’s re-election in 2012. When she announced that she would not run again, he threw his own hat in the ring.

Summers lost bids to get into the U.S. House of Representatives in 1994, 2004 and 2008 and then got appointed New England director of the Small Business Association, a position traditionally reserved for rewarding losers. In 2010, the Republican-controlled state Legislature elected him Secretary of State, a position he has refused to yield even, though he will essentially be overseeing a November election in which he is a candidate.

Yarmouth Town Council Chairman Steve Woods tells me his business experience makes him a more qualified independent candidate than Angus King, but no one has ever gone straight from the town council to the U.S. Senate and probably never will. Woods needs to pay his electoral dues. And anyway, if success in business qualified one to govern, Paul LePage wouldn’t be such an awful governor.

There are a couple of other guys in the U.S. Senate race, but they, too, are just tilting at windmills.

Angus King will win because 1) he has a track record of being able to work collaboratively to solve problems, 2) his independent status will be an asset both in the election and in the senate, and 3) he is on a first-name basis with the Maine people.

My prediction? Angus will garner somewhere around 50 percent of the vote. Charlie Summers may get as much as 30 percent. Cynthia Dill will be lucky to get out of the teens. And the other three candidates will eat the single-digit crumbs.

Just keep pumping those big bucks into Maine media, boys. The outcome is not in doubt, but if you’re determined to waste obscene amounts of ill-gotten gain, the Maine economy can use your excess.