Politics

October 29, 2012

Maine U.S. Senate candidates engage in feisty TV debate

But it occurred amid reports that national groups are withdrawing from Maine, signaling their belief Maine's race might be over.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

All six candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat in Maine participate in a debate moderated by Pat Callaghan, right, at the WCSH studios in Portland on Monday night. The candidates are, from left: Andrew Ian Dodge, an independent from Harpswell; Danny Dalton, independent from Brunswick; Charlie Summers, Republican from Scarborough; Angus King, independent from Brunswick; Cynthia Dill, Democrat candidate from Cape Elizabeth; and Steve Woods, independent from Yarmouth.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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King noted that the project reduced property taxes by 59 percent and provided Roxbury residents with free power. He said the wind farm was particularly productive on Monday as Hurricane Sandy passed through Maine.

He said government investments in energy are important and the country will never achieve energy independence and clean air "if we don't stop burning stuff."

Dill tried to corner King on which party he would caucus with in the Senate. She prefaced her question by noting controversial comments about abortion and rape by two Republican Senate candidates outside Maine and a party platform that would limit a woman's right to choose.

King, interrupting Dill, asked her if she should be directing her question to "this guy," gesturing to Summers.

King, who is pro-choice, repeated his standard answer to the caucus question, saying he is in the race as an independent and hopes to remain that way for as long as he can.

King later asked Summers how he plans to reduce the national debt, adding that the Republican has offered few specifics except that he would eliminate the U.S. Department of Education, which accounts for only a fraction of the deficit.

Summers didn't bite, saying only that he would review "every department." He also defended his plan to eliminate the Department of Education, which is "a bureaucracy that soaks up federal dollars."

The debate was one of the few in which all six candidates participated. Three of the independents, Dodge, Woods and Danny Dalton, touched on a number of issues.

Dalton, a former Drug Enforcement Administration agent, focused on ineffective government initiatives, such as the war on drugs. Dalton said authorities should focus on hard-drug enforcement but decriminalize marijuana.

Later, Dodge and Woods took turns going after Summers.

Woods, who has many of the same policy views as King, chided Summers for assigning all of Maine's problems to the former governor, adding that he fully expected the Summers campaign to blame King for the "low barometric pressure" that was contributing to the storm raging outside.

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

smistler@pressherald.com

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