Saturday, May 18, 2013
After watching from the sidelines, it's nice to see that Maine is on the battleground in this year's presidential election, even if it's only one of our two congressional districts. Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that can split electoral votes, making Maine's 2nd Congressional District a quadrennial lure for Republicans because it is supposed to be more rural and more conservative than the "People's Republic of Greater Portland" in the south.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, left, and his Republican challenger, Maine Senate President Kevin Raye will face off in the 2nd Congressional District race on Nov. 6. A quirk in Maine's electoral process makes the 2nd District race important in a bigger battle.
AP File Photos
The fact that there are plenty of rural towns such as Lyman and Baldwin in the 1st District, and cities such as Lewiston and Bangor in the allegedly rural 2nd tends to mean that the votes never get split.
But last week, a pro-Romney super PAC announced it would spend close to $400,000 in Maine to try to tip the 2nd District for Romney, putting at least half the state in play.
If that meant our voters would be part of the conversation over the week and a half left in the campaign, it would be worth it.
But judging from what we have seen in the last month, especially in the debates, we probably shouldn't hope for too much.
The science of messaging has become so developed that the candidates appear to use statements about their legitimate differences in policy as vehicles for delivering subliminal messages to tiny slices of undecided voters in targeted communities, such as high school educated women in Ohio.
It's not even clear if the Republicans really think they have a chance in Maine, or if they are just throwing some money our way to make people think the 2nd is really up for grabs.
With no limits on super PAC spending, a move like that just to create positive buzz in the stories on the campaign's final days makes sense. What's a few hundred thousand when you are sitting on hundreds of millions?
Even if it's just a feint, it's good for our sense of self-worth to get a little attention. At least we'll have some ads to watch while those high school educated women in Ohio pick our president.