July 26, 2012

National group's ads to target King

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce spends nearly $200,000 on Maine TV ads set to debut today.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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TV ads expected to begin airing today in Maine likely will target U.S. Senate candidate Angus King.

"We've been expecting this," Canney said. "The U.S. Chamber endorsement of Charlie Summers shows just how out of touch the organization is with Maine's business community."

Canney added that King had a strong record of supporting Maine businesses during his eight years as governor, including successful efforts to save jobs at Bath Iron Works with a shipbuilding tax credit program, luring National Semiconductor to Maine and creating the Maine International Trade Association.

King, in a separate comment, said: "Now I understand why Charlie Summers didn't agree to keep super PACs out of Maine," a reference to King's challenge to the other candidates last month to participate in a plan to discourage spending on the Senate race by outside groups.

Federal election laws prohibit outside groups like the chamber and so-called super PACs from collaborating with individual campaign committees. However, campaign finance experts like Corrado say the outside groups often have relationships with the candidates and follow the lead of the campaigns.

Lance Dutson, the campaign manager for Summers, said the ad buy shows that King's record as governor makes him "extremely vulnerable to the issues that people care about now, which is jobs and the economy.

"He managed the state in a way that was not fiscally responsible," Dutson added. "Americans right, left and center understand that's (not) what we need right now."

Dutson said he had not seen the ads.

Dutson said King's comparison of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to a super PAC was "ridiculous."

"(The chamber) is the national representative of business and the free market today, and Charlie is proud to have received their endorsement," Dutson said.

Dutson added that the ad buy was a sign that King's victory in November is not inevitable, adding that groups like the chamber wouldn't make such a significant investment if Summers wasn't viable.

"I think this is one of many soon-to-come signs that this is a serious race," Dutson said. "Free-marketers and business people want to keep this seat in Republican hands. And they see Charlie has a great chance to do it."

Staff Writer John Richardson contributed to this report.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 791-6345 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: stevemistler

 This story was updated to show that the television ads target King.

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