Saturday, March 8, 2014
By BEN McCANNA Morning Sentinel
If a new TV ad from U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud evokes memories of a previous campaign, there's good reason.
U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine
Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer
The 30-second ad, which began airing Tuesday, shows veterans thanking Michaud for his work to establish VA clinics in four Maine communities, similar to an ad that ran during Michaud's race in 2010 against Republican Jason Levesque.
A spokesman for Michaud said the ad provides an update on his efforts for veterans' services, while the campaign for Republican challenger Kevin Raye contends the familiar ad is probably the product of hasty decision-making.
Michaud's campaign spokesman Dan Cashman acknowledged Tuesday that the ad is very similar to what voters have already seen.
"It's the same subject matter," he said. "It's something (Michaud) has been honored to do -- work closely with veterans over the years."
In the 2010 ad, several veterans thanked Michaud for helping to open clinics in Houlton and Lincoln and his efforts to open two more in Bangor and Lewiston-Auburn.
Two years later, the proposed clinics have opened, so the new ad reflects that, Cashman said.
"We feel it's an important story that should be told to the Maine voter," he said.
The ad concludes with Michaud responding to the veterans who thanked him.
"No. Thank you for your service to our country," he says. "I'm Mike Michaud and I approved this message because we must never forget them, or their sacrifice."
Raye's campaign consultant, Kathie Summers-Grice, said she believes the ad was slapped together as a last-minute response to Raye's growing momentum and an ad campaign that began a week ago.
She cited records from TV stations last week that showed Michaud wasn't planning to advertise until early next month.
"This is a reactionary movement from the Michaud campaign," she said.
Cashman said Summers-Grice is incorrect; the decisions about the ad's content and start date were made several weeks ago.
James Melcher, a professor of political science at the University of Maine at Farmington, said the assertions by Raye's campaign might be partly correct.
"I think it's a sign they're taking Raye's campaign seriously, and I think they have plenty of reason to do so," Melcher said. "Kevin Raye is the best-known candidate they've run against since the last time Raye ran, he's the best-funded candidate, he's been getting money from national sources."
Melcher said it makes sense, however, for Michaud to start the campaign with an ad featuring veterans, because he has a long history of supporting them.
It is more noteworthy that both campaigns are running positive ads, and that there haven't been any ads from national sources bashing either candidate, he said.
Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be contacted at 861-9239