PROSPECT HARBOR – Walter Bell lay on his back on a mud flat, rolling red paint onto the hull of the Black Pearl lobster boat Friday afternoon.

He was racing to finish his project before the tide came in, so he didn’t look up when Shawn Moody pulled into the adjacent parking lot lugging a large campaign sign in the bed of his truck.

Moody, one of three independent candidates for governor, didn’t seem to mind. He scrambled down the rocks to get closer to the handful of people on the waterfront.

“We are a different kind of candidate,” said Moody, wearing jeans and a blue short-sleeved shirt at his first campaign stop of the day.

Moody was in the third day of his first campaign swing across Maine. He started in Fort Kent and was planning to finish up today in Bangor or Rockland.

Moody, 50, is the latest candidate to shift his campaign into a higher gear in a race that typically doesn’t really get going until after Labor Day.

Two weeks ago, Republican Paul LePage took a whistle-stop tour of the midcoast along the Maine Eastern Railroad. And last week, independent candidate Eliot Cutler trotted out his friend Ina Garten, the Food Network’s “Barefoot Contessa,” at a private reception.

Joining them on the November ballot are Democrat Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell and independent Kevin Scott.

Moody, a political neophyte who owns a string of auto body shops, said Friday that his first campaign tour is intended in part to spread the word that he is the candidate for small business owners.

But, he said, it is mostly to reacquaint himself with his state and hear the concerns of fellow Mainers. “I am all ears. I am a sponge,” he said.

The tour is low-key. He is traveling with his wife, Chris, and his own celebrity supporter, Bob Crowley of South Portland, the Gorham High School physics teacher who won the “Survivor” reality TV show in 2008.

Crowley taught three of the four Moody children and considers himself a family friend. “He asked me to give him a hand,” Crowley during Friday’s stop in Prospect Harbor.

The tour is also fairly informal. Moody’s campaign staffers back in Gorham — largely family members — aren’t always sure where he is at any given moment.

Some of Moody’s stops have been at big events — he was at the Presque Isle Fair, and a car dealership’s open house in Limestone. But he was torn about whether to make an appearance to meet the crowds at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland.

Friday’s stop in Prospect Harbor was just a few hundred feet from the recently closed Stinson Seafood sardine factory, which is set to become a lobster processing plant in the near future.

Although only three fishermen — including Moody’s wife’s cousin’s husband — were there for the meet-and-greet, Moody gave them his full attention. He stood on the mud flat for close to an hour in the hot sun, discussing topics that ranged from lobster gear regulations to auto painting techniques.

Two boys splashed in the water while returning lobstermen loaded up their trucks, pulling away from the dock with a glance at the candidate.

Gino Balzarini, owner of the Black Pearl, said it’s hard to concentrate on politics during the busy season for lobstering.

He said he isn’t close to being decided on a candidate, but “I want someone who will help our fishermen.”

Bell finally crawled out from under the boat to join the discussion. He said this could be one of those elections when he foregoes voting.

“I don’t care who you put in there. They are going wake up with all the same headaches,” said Bell, before popping back under the boat. 

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]