June 10, 2012

With no primary, King works on organizing campaign

CLARKE CANFIELD / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Angus King, Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate, right, speaks to former Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, prior to announcing the opening of his campaign office in Brunswick in April. (AP Photo / Pat Wellenbach)

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The Maine Democratic Party has yet to formulate a strategy or a timetable on its role in the Senate campaign. That's not because of King's entry into the race, but rather because of the decision of three top-tier candidates — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and former Gov. John Baldacci — to not enter the race, said party Chairman Ben Grant.

One thing Grant feels sure about is that plenty of out-of-state money will funnel to Maine to go after King.

"We feel confident the national Republican establishment will be coming in with lots of money, probably millions of dollars, to try and tear down Gov. King," Grant said. "I have no doubt given the resources they have available, and Maine being a small state and media coming cheap compared to big states, and this being a seat they have to defend, I believe they'll come in in a big way to keep this in the Republican column."

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster thinks King's candidacy ultimately will fall short.

"He isn't a saver, he's a spender," Webster said. "His record of spending and taxing won't spell well in this election cycle."

It would serve King's campaign best if Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Bruce Poliquin, who are considered far left and far right politically, to win their parties' primaries, leaving a huge middle for King to go after in the general election, Bailey said.

"If that happens, he will win with over 50 percent of the vote, which in a three-way race is equivalent to a tsunami," Bailey said.

Three other independents are also running: Steve Woods of Yarmouth, Danny Dalton of Brunswick, and Andrew Ian Dodge of Harpswell.

But nobody will confuse them with King. King's campaign has more than 1,500 volunteers and had raised $431,000 as of late May, Canney said, and King has been meeting with business and community groups, veterans, labor organizations and fishermen. She isn't surprised other candidates have put a target on King's back.

"I guess that's how they're choosing to run their campaigns, to be negative about the independent candidates," she said. "He's the person to beat."


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