PORTLAND — Former independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler said Tuesday night that he will form a political action committee for moderates who feel disconnected from the political parties.

OneMaine will raise money and help candidates “of any stripe” who are willing to work across party lines, Cutler said during a social gathering at Empire Dine and Dance on Congress Street. “It’s important for this state that people of good will have a place to come together and help solve problems,” he said.

He said he plans to form OneMaine in June.

Cutler lost to Republican Paul LePage by less than 10,000 votes in November’s gubernatorial election. Nearly five months later, Cutler continues to host thank-you events like Tuesday’s, taking time to recognize the efforts of people who supported his campaign.

About 100 supporters came to the gathering in Portland.

“I think he’s trying to keep his organization active and keep his people involved, given the way things are going in the state right now,” said Bill Umbel, who owns Empire Dine and Dance.

Cutler, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, denied that OneMaine is a response to the controversies that have surrounded the LePage administration, or that the committee will serve to build support for Cutler to run for governor again in 2014.

“It’s far too early to think about anything like (running in 2014), but it’s not too early to create a political gathering place for the thousands of Mainers who no longer feel connected to a political party,” Cutler said.

Annie Tselikis, a former Cutler campaign worker, said she wasn’t surprised to see so many supporters turn out. “We are excited to be here because the campaign felt like a family. It was always a good time,” she said.

Kaitlin LaCasse, Cutler’s former field director, said Cutler has hosted thank-you meetings in Brunswick, Bangor, Ellsworth and Waterville.

“He’s a genuine person. He truly wants to thank all of his supporters,” LaCasse said.

LaCasse said the structure of OneMaine is still being developed, but it will essentially serve as a gathering place for moderate Mainers and candidates. The organization could potentially work on policy issues and on getting moderate candidates elected.

As for LePage, Cutler said he has been writing about his former opponent on his Facebook page.

“I’ve written on Facebook that I have been disappointed by the insensitivity of some of the things that the governor has done and said. Hopefully, we’ve seen the last of it,” Cutler said.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: [email protected]