Wednesday September 04, 2013 | 01:21 PM

WASHINGTON – A national conservation group is airing ads in the Portland area praising Republican Sen. Susan Collins for supporting energy-efficiency measures.

The ad by the League of Conservation Voters is not explicitly an endorsement of Collins as she gears up for her 2014 reelection bid, although it clearly aims to paint Collins in a positive light.

“With Washington stuck in gridlock, we need leadership.  And Susan Collins is taking action,” states the ad’s narrator. “She is working across party lines for real results for us.”

The TV spot credits Collins for “standing up for bipartisan legislation that would spur innovation in energy-efficient technology” that would create jobs and save consumers money. The ad ends by urging viewers to call Collins’ office to thank her for co-sponsoring the legislation, which was introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.

The League of Conservation Voters is a national environmental advocacy and policy group that has chapters or local affiliates in states, including the organization Maine Conservation Voters. The national group endorsed Collins in 2008 in her race against U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, D-District 1.

LCV representatives have not said whether they plan to endorse Collins again next year. The tone of the new ad, the text of a press release sent out Wednesday and polling conducted by the group last month clearly suggest an endorsement at some point, however.

The organization’s press release states that Collins has earned a score of 71 percent of LCV’s “national environmental scorecard” and points out that the Maine Republican has the highest lifetime score of any Senate Republican.

The ad quickly followed a small poll conducted by LCV of about 400 residents of the Portland television market. That poll showed that 78 percent of the all respondents either “strongly approve” or “approve” of Collins.

The timing of the ad is somewhat curious, however, given that Collins is already a supporter of the energy-efficiency bill. She also currently has no declared opponents from either side of the political aisle in her reelection campaign, although that could change between now and 2014.


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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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