Monday August 20, 2012 | 11:40 AM

A conservative blogger for the Washington Post is taking up the call for Republicans to back Charlie Summers in Maine’s U.S. Senate race.

In a column titled, “Message to the GOP: Maine is not lost!,” Marc Thiessen cites a Portland Press Herald poll from late June showing that independent candidate Angus King had a 28-percentage point lead over Summers. Then he writes that after two weeks of anti-King TV advertising by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “King’s lead over Summers dropped 10 points.”

Thiessen doesn’t cite any source for the 10-point drop claim. However, it matches internal poll results circulated by the Summers campaign over the past 10 days. Other bloggers also have been writing about the numbers as though they are from an independent source, although neither the Press Herald nor anyone else has reported independent poll numbers since July.

It was widely expected that the U.S. Chamber’s ads would change the poll numbers in the race, at least temporarily. But the Summers campaign needs to show some significant change in order to keep the Chamber – and its money – in the race and to entice other outside groups to help.

Now, the Summers campaign is re-spinning its own poll, sending out fundraising letters and press releases that cite poll numbers published by various news organizations. The campaign also doesn't mention that the numbers are from its poll.

It’s not clear if the big national spenders will consider the Summers campaign poll numbers enough of an enticement. Even if the numbers are accurate, an 18-point deficit may keep some money out of the race.

Look for the next round of independent polls – or another round of TV ads – to see how well the Chambers ads worked.


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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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