September 13, 2010

LePage turns to new page today

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

and Rebekah Metzler
MaineToday Media State House Writer

Republican gubernatorial nominee Paul LePage is scheduled to announce his policy agenda today with formal stops in the Bangor area and in downtown Portland.

Called "Turning the Page: New Ideas to Get Maine Working," the campaign says LePage will talk about "his plan for Maine and my promise to you."

The day will begin at Dysart's truck stop in Hermon; continue in Augusta, where LePage will stop by the State House press corps area to chat with reporters; and end in Portland at the Regency Hotel.

According to the latest poll, LePage is leading the five-person pack with 43 percent support, Democrat Libby Mitchell has 29 percent and independent Eliot Cutler pulls in 11 percent. Independent Shawn Moody earned 5 percent, and independent Kevin Scott got 1 percent, according to Public Policy Polling.

Today's announcement by LePage should give him a chance to silence some critics who say he hasn't provided specifics about how he will achieve his goals.

Last week, the Maine State Employees Association -- which has endorsed Mitchell -- posted a video on its website to highlight statements that LePage made while answering questions about how to pay for a new bridge in southern Maine.

"There are some programs in the state where we have a lot of overhead, a lot of state workers that generate no good for the state, and we're going to remove them," LePage said.

That prompted MSEA President Bruce Hodsdon to say he wants to know which programs LePage wants to eliminate.

"Egg inspectors? People who make sure our food, water and air are clean? Education? Revenue sharing? Child protective?" he asked. "He's out there making lots of statements, but he has a responsibility to talk about what things he would cut."


Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, N.C., also polled the state's two congressional districts last week, and found that both Democratic incumbents are in the lead.

In the 1st District, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree led Republican challenger Dean Scontras 47 percent to 38 percent.

In the 2nd District, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud led Republican Jason Levesque 45 percent to 38 percent, the pollsters found.

The firm surveyed 790 likely Maine voters in the 1st District. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

In the 2nd District, the firm contacted 678 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

While that race is within the poll's margin of error and thus statistically too close to call, observers believe it would be a huge upset were Levesque to win.


Speaking of polls, it's always fun to look at the results of the "favorable/unfavorable" question.

While polling the gubernatorial race, Public Policy asked voters how they viewed LePage, Mitchell and Cutler.

Each candidate finished "first" in a different category. Here's what the pollsters found:

Mitchell: 43 percent unfavorable, 34 percent favorable, 23 percent not sure.

LePage: 43 percent favorable, 35 percent unfavorable, 21 percent not sure.

Cutler: 45 percent not sure, 35 percent unfavorable, 20 percent favorable.


Libby Mitchell will announce her plan for jobs and the economy today at the Democratic Party Office in Bangor.

This is the third policy rollout for her campaign. Previously, she's talked about government reform and education.


Michael "Mick" Devin, a Democratic candidate for House District 51 is using a unicycle to get around the district as he campaigns.

"A unicycle enables the campaigner to travel at a runner's pace with the effort of a walker," according to a news release from the campaign.

"The unicycle is a great ice-breaker," he said in a written statement. "People open up quickly and want to discuss issues they feel are important."

If you want to see Devin in action, he plans to ride in Damariscotta's Giant Pumpkin Parade on Oct. 9.

Devin will face Rep. Jonathan McKane, R-Newcastle, Nov. 2. District 51 includes Bristol, Damariscotta, Edgecomb, Monhegan Island, Newcastle and South Bristol.


Maine Ahead, a statewide monthly business magazine, has focused its September/October issue on the gubernatorial candidates.

The magazine, which is published 10 times a year, targets business executives and is sold on newsstands.

"This is the first real opportunity for all five candidates to come together in writing and talk about issues that will affect Maine's business community," publisher Mark Wellman said in a written statement.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:


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