FALMOUTH – Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani headlined a well-attended fundraiser Thursday night for Dean Scontras, the Republican trying to unseat incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree in Maine’s 1st Congressional District.

“(Scontras) is a successful businessman and has a great understanding of limited government and keeping taxes low and keeping government spending under control,” Giuliani said at a reception before the event.

More than 250 people gathered under a white tent at the Falmouth Country Club to hear Giuliani speak. Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins also praised Scontras at the event.

Scontras, co-owner of a company that specializes in alternative energy solutions, said that if elected he would work to create jobs and control government spending. He said he would also work to lower taxes and ease regulations to help businesses thrive.

“When you free up your economic engine and allow people to innovate and go get capital, that’s when things thrive,” Scontras said. “People are sitting on their capital. They are not investing in their hopes and dreams because they are uncertain about this Congress. The capital is there. Good old American ingenuity is there, but they are very concerned. The word is ‘uncertain.’“

Scontras also spoke about a study released Thursday that said more Mainers are living in poverty than ever before. “It’s absolutely an issue,” he said.

“The Democrats have controlled the State House for 40 years and followed a policy that (has pushed) people into poverty,” he said. “We can no longer live off the state. It’s time to make the state a prosperous place to be again, and that includes getting the right people into office.”

Some at the event saw Giuliani’s appearance as a good omen for Scontras.

Collins said the last time Giuliani was in Maine was in 2002, when Collins ran against Pingree.

“You may recall how that election came out,” Collins said. “We can do it. I can feel it. Dean is an entrepreneur who understands the challenges of starting and growing a business. He’s a father who takes to heart the responsibilities that we, the leaders of today, have for the generations to come.”

David Emery, a former GOP congressman in the 1st District, introduced Collins and Snowe. Also attending was Snowe’s husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, the state’s only Republican governor in the past 48 years.

“We’re going to break that trend and elect Paul LePage,” Snowe said. “I hope you will give Paul something else that (McKernan) didn’t have, and that’s Republican majorities in Augusta to bring fiscal sanity.”

Scontras met with Giuliani on Aug. 18 in New York City and the two discussed issues that included how to address the federal budget deficit.

Giuliani’s visit came two days before the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, a fact noted by many who attended Thursday’s fundraiser. Giuliani was mayor of New York when the attacks occurred.

“We have boundless admiration and profound gratitude for you,” Snowe said of Giuliani’s leadership in the aftermath of the attacks. “You came to the floor with such inspirational leadership. You went into the line of fire and commanded the response and resources and communicated a message of hope in a time of despair and shock and fear. We just want to thank you. Your leadership sets an example for the ages.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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