May 22, 2012

Election 2012: D'Amboise digging in against the 'Snowe clones'

The self-described farm boy from Carmel dismisses the rest of the GOP field as 'career politicians.'

By Steve Mistler
Staff Writer

Scott D'Amboise has little regard for what he calls the Maine Republican Party establishment. The party establishment, it seems, has little regard for him.

click image to enlarge

Scott D’Amboise, campaigning Saturday at a church supper in Lisbon, has embraced his outsider status.

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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AGE: 48

HOME: Lisbon Falls

FAMILY: Married with two children

EDUCATION: Graduate of Hermon High School

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Served one term on Lisbon Board of Selectmen, 2002-2005. Ran as Republican challenger to U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, in 2nd Congressional District in 2006, but lost with 29 percent of the vote.

D'Amboise, backed by the tea party, had been engaged in a primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe for nearly two years when the senior senator unexpectedly abandoned her re-election bid in late February.

During the aftershock, D'Amboise released a statement proclaiming victory.

"I respect Sen. Snowe's decision, and look forward to facing the Democratic nominee in the fall," D'Amboise said.

He's no longer the only Republican in the race. The Lisbon resident is, however, still the underdog.

"Now instead of running against one Olympia Snowe, I'm running against five Olympia Snowe clones," D'Amboise said.

Five Republicans jumped into the fray rather than allow D'Amboise to coast through an uncontested June primary. One candidate, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, quickly snatched up D'Amboise's campaign manager.

The others, some with deep pockets and long-standing party connections, took the spotlight before D'Amboise could set foot in it.

Not that he hasn't tried. D'Amboise, 48, has since embraced and amplified his outsider status. The rest of the field? "Career politicians," he says.

D'Amboise is a self-described farm boy from Carmel turned husband, father, everyman. His parents weren't deeply religious. D'Amboise is. He joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 28 years ago, when he met his wife. His faith, he says, keeps him on the "straight and narrow."

He works days assisting optometrists at an eye care center in Portland. He runs a cleaning business.

His political experience consists of one three-year term on the Lisbon Board of Selectmen, from 2002 to 2005. He claims to have saved the town $2 million during his term, although the spending levels in Lisbon, which used a town-meeting style of government at the time, were ultimately determined by residents at the annual session. Town records show that Lisbon's mil rate held steady in 2003 and 2004. It dipped $1 in 2005, thanks to a $173,468 decline in the budget.

D'Amboise's congressional ambitions began in 2006, when he challenged Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the 2nd Congressional District. Michaud easily won re-election.

D'Amboise's policy positions were conservative in 2006 and have since tacked further right with the ascendance of the tea party movement. He bills himself as a constitutionalist, conservative Christian. He supports dismantling the U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service. He believes in a fair-use tax on goods and services, decreased environmental regulations and the use of home-grown energy, including nuclear, offshore drilling and increased natural gas fracking. He's anti-abortion.

He's concerned about the national debt.

"I looked at my children and realize they're being sent to fiscal slavery," he said. "They've bonded as fiscal slaves."

D'Amboise says his GOP opponents are "career politicians," "the establishment." That, he says, is what separates him from the field.

"I call them The Webster 5," he says, a reference to Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster.

Webster has said that he doesn't think the party will coalesce behind D'Amboise; others, like Republican operative and columnist Matt Gagnon, have pointedly explained why.

Gagnon, in July 2011, penned the blog post "D'Amboise is not a serious candidate." He ripped D'Amboise for, among other things, issuing a written polemic demanding that Snowe provide "an explanation and a letter of resignation" following news that the U.S. Department of Justice was investigating student recruiting practices at the Education Management Corp. Snowe's husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, sits on the board of directors.

Snowe and McKernan vehemently denied any wrongdoing; McKernan isn't a defendant in the lawsuit. Nonetheless, D'Amboise went on the attack.

(Continued on page 2)

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