LEWISTON – Republican Peter Mills marveled at a paper-cutting machine and handed out as many brochures as possible Friday as he toured a manufacturing facility in his run-up to Tuesday’s gubernatorial primary.

Mills, a state senator who is one of seven candidates for his party’s nomination, has been endorsed by Peter Geiger, executive vice president of Geiger, a multifaceted printing plant, bindery and promotional products distributor.

Although the company doesn’t endorse candidates, it hosts many politicians who are trying to get elected, said company President Gene Geiger.

“Our philosophy is, we want our employees to be good citizens and be informed,” he said.

Peter Geiger, who is also editor of the Farmers’ Almanac, led Mills and one of his campaign staffers on a tour of plant, which includes office space with tall cubicles, a call center and a factory floor with large machines that punch holes, cut paper and put bindings on journals and calendars. The company employs 450 people, Geiger said.

For Mills, the tour was a way to do the kind of face-to-face campaigning that is important in Maine elections.

He quickly, but politely, introduced himself to dozens of people, stopping to talk if an employee had a question, but not taking too much time away from work.

“It’s retail politics from here until Tuesday,” Mills said. “I’ll be looking for places I can meet large numbers of people.”

As a Clean Elections candidate, Mills cannot raise any money for the campaign, but has been given more than $600,000 in state funds to pay for television commercials and other expenses. He said he has budgeted all of his money, which includes a major effort to call people before Tuesday’s election.

Mills said his campaign has already called 100,000 people in an effort to make personal contact with voters. He will not rely on “robo calls,” the automated systems that have become popular in recent years.

This is Mills’ second run in a Republican gubernatorial primary. The scant polling information that has been made available — including one poll that Mills paid for — shows him to be in the hunt for the nomination.

But he’ll have stiff competition from a large field: Les Otten, Steve Abbott, Paul LePage, Bill Beardsley, Bruce Poliquin and Matt Jacobson.

During Friday’s tour, Geiger pointed out a few ways that government has hurt his business, and expressed a desire for more stable regulation.

“We never know what the Legislature is going to do,” he said.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

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