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

(Continued from page 1)

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

John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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SCOTT D'AMBOISE will answer your questions live on this website at noon today. Also on interactive graphic of the candidates' campaign finances and searchable database of contributors.


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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.

". . . She (Snowe) is holed up in her ornate Washington, D.C., office refusing to explain what she knew and when she knew it," D'Amboise wrote.

Gagnon, the blogger, believed D'Amboise had entered the Senate race early in order to capitalize on the 2010 tea party ascendancy. He wrote that D'Amboise's EDMC comments reaffirmed that belief.

D'Amboise says he needed to start his candidacy early to take on the "entrenched" Snowe. He has no regrets about his EDMC comments.

"I don't regret it because it was the truth," he said, adding that the media twisted his comments to make him "the villain."

Others, meanwhile, noted the irony of D'Amboise's EDMC attack.

When D'Amboise ran against Michaud in 2006, campaign finance reports show he collected a $2,100 donation from McKernan's EDMC PAC. It was the second-largest donation to D'Amboise's campaign. The largest, $5,000, came from Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins' Dirigo PAC.

There's more: D'Amboise didn't declare his candidacy in 2006 until March 9, leaving him just nine days to gather 1,500 signatures to get on the primary ballot.

Snowe sent members of her organization to help D'Amboise collect the signatures.

D'Amboise doesn't mention Snowe, but he acknowledges that the party establishment helped get him on the ballot.

"After that they said, 'You're basically on your own,"' he said. "It wasn't the fact that I wasn't a qualified candidate, it was the fact that they didn't think anybody could beat Michaud."

D'Amboise raised just under $29,000 in 2006. He finished with a little more than 29 percent of the vote.

D'Amboise's fundraising against Snowe was far more robust. He's gathered $609,830 so far. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 95 percent of the money came from well-heeled, out-of-state donors, many of whom are bankrolling other tea party candidates.

Some critics say D'Amboise's out-of-state backers signal that the candidate doesn't have local, grass-roots support to turn out voters. However, out-of-state funding is common in U.S. Senate races. Seventy-nine percent of Snowe's money was from out of state, according to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis.

More worrisome for D'Amboise, political observers say, is how he's spending his money and whether or not he'll continue to bring it in given the new race dynamic.

For a low-profile candidate like D'Amboise, attracting wealthy out-of-state donors means renting expensive mailing lists, according to Dan Billings, a longtime GOP operative, current legal counsel to Gov. Paul LePage and supporter of candidate Rick Bennett.

That may help explain why D'Amboise's campaign has spent more than $487,000. Most has gone to mailing companies to help raise more money. He hasn't purchased a single television ad.

D'Amboise's campaign has also paid his wife more than $8,000 in mileage reimbursements. The expenditures caught the attention of D'Amboise's campaign manager, Sam Pimm.

The reimbursement level isn't unusual for a congressional race when candidates log tens of thousands of miles, Pimm said. Billings agreed, but noted that campaigns typically don't pay out such expenditures until the end.

"Spending $8,000 on mileage now is $8,000 you don't spend on an ad," Billings said.

D'Amboise acknowledges that donations have dropped off "a little" since Snowe exited. But he remains hopeful that voters will look at him and the other five candidates and see the chance for real change.

D'Amboise often says that he's the reason Snowe bailed out of the race. As for GOP competitors, D'Amboise wonders why none of them had the "courage" or "guts" to take her on when he did.

"They're all career politicians," he said. "Some of them may have taken a little break, but their desire to get back in is the only reason they're doing this."

He added, "I'm not doing any of this for me. It's not about Scott, it's not about making a name for myself. It's about serving the people."

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


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