Monday, March 10, 2014
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Maine's 2014 gubernatorial race is expected to attract major attention -- and money -- from national political groups.
Several polls released this year indicate that LePage would have trouble in a one-on-one race against a Democrat but could win again with a plurality of votes in a three-way race against Cutler and a Democrat.
Cutler finished 2 percentage points behind LePage in 2010 after many Democrats divided their votes between him and the party's nominee, Libby Mitchell.
LePage's political adviser, Brent Littlefield, suggested that Pingree didn't like the odds.
"Chellie knows what most political observers know, which is that Governor Paul LePage is going to be re-elected," Littlefield said.
"She saw the writing on the wall that the race is going to be very difficult ... and I think she made the choice for what she perceives to be a safe seat (in Congress) rather than face a tough campaign."
A spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association said this week that Maine's race is in the top tier in terms of interest nationally, and that his organization will "aggressively support" the Democratic nominee.
"We are going to aggressively communicate a message that Gov. LePage has proved himself too extreme for the state of Maine and that the only thing Eliot Cutler could accomplish is the re-election of Paul LePage," said Danny Kanner, spokesman for the governors association.
First elected to the U.S. House in 2008, Pingree is Maine's most liberal member of Congress.
She became only the fifth Mainer ever to hold a seat on the House Appropriations Committee, a panel that helps control the federal purse strings.
Before her election to Congress, Pingree served in the Maine Senate -- including four years as Senate majority leader -- and was president of the political activist group Common Cause. She is co-owner of a bed and breakfast, Nebo Lodge, on the island of North Haven.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:
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