April 26, 2010

Credit-score query elicits range of replies

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA - As candidates make their way from chamber forum to union debate, the questions can get repetitive.

That was true until last week, when someone wanted to know the credit scores of all the Republicans in the field.

The question came during a forum sponsored by the Bangor Region Chamber and Eaton Peabody. It had been submitted in advance by a chamber member and made reference to 2006, when GOP candidate Chandler Woodcock was found to have had 10 liens on his property from 1997 to 2005 -- all of which had been paid off before the 2006 election.

This time around, candidates weren't quite sure how to handle the question.

"I don't believe in debt, and I don't have debt," Waterville Mayor Paul LePage said.

Sen. Peter Mills said he thinks his score is between 700 and 800.

Bill Beardsley said he has no debt and joked that his "kids have good jobs" so he could turn to them in a pinch.

Steve Abbott said he and his wife have a mortgage on their home, but that he's looking for work as Maine's next governor.

"I can tell you I'm currently unemployed and seeking a job," he said.

The primary is June 8.

ROWE FUNDRAISING

Democrat Steve Rowe beat other candidates to the punch by releasing his latest fundraising totals before Tuesday's deadline.

Rowe, who is raising his own money for the campaign, has raised $424,000 to date, according to his campaign. Those who are using public money get a minimum of $400,000 to run their campaigns.

A breakdown provided by Rowe's staff shows that 92 percent of his contributions were from Mainers and that contributors came from all 16 counties in the state.

POLIQUIN'S TOWN HALL TOUR

Republican Bruce Poliquin will begin his Better Management for Maine Town Hall Tour tonight in Skowhegan.

He will hold similar events in Dover-Foxcroft and Bath during the week.

Poliquin said he's hoping to hear from voters about what "they expect of their next governor."

McGOWAN'S HOUSE TEST

Democrat Patrick McGowan invited the press to his Hallowell home on Earth Day while an energy auditor checked out his circa-1835 abode.

He hired The Heat Doctor of Yarmouth -- also known as Bob Swan -- to use his infrared camera and conduct a pressurization test to see what kind of work McGowan needs to have done to save some money.

Right off the bat, McGowan said he knew he needs a new furnace, which he estimates will save him two tanks of oil a year.

"This is exactly like the home I grew up in, in Pittsfield," McGowan said, recalling that back then, the furnace ran pretty much constantly from October to May.

MITCHELL RELEASES POLL

Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, one of five Democrats running for governor, released a poll last week that shows her with a 20-point lead over the rest of the Democratic field.

The question asked 587 registered and likely June Democratic primary voters who they would support if the election were held today.

The poll was conducted at the campaign's request by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a national polling firm.

Of those polled, 36 percent of the respondents said they support Mitchell; 16 percent said Rowe; 13 percent said McGowan; 5 percent said John Richardson; 4 percent said Rosa Scarcelli and 26 percent were undecided.

MILLS RUNS 5K IN JEANS

Sen. Peter Mills of Cornville, one of seven Republicans running for governor, ran a race of a different kind last week. He completed the Topsham 5K race last week while wearing jeans, according to his campaign.

He also did a headstand in the parking lot, something he's been known to do in the back of the Senate chamber on occasion.

(Continued on page 2)

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