March 21, 2010

Greens' absence adds new wrinkle to governor's race

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

(Continued from page 1)

"I'm going to be on stage in November as the only alternative to politics as usual," he said. "I think that helps me. It clarifies things."

Cutler and seven other unenrolled candidates have until June 1 to get 4,000 signatures to make the November ballot.

"A number of Greens may want to vote for him," said Chipman.

If, that is, Greens vote. Two political science professors said Greens may just stay home, rather than support a major-party candidate.

 

LOST OPPORTUNITY

Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine at Orono, said much will depend on the Democratic and Republican nominees.

The Republicans, who have not held the governorship since January 1995, have seven men on the June primary ballot: Steven Abbott, William Beardsley, Matthew Jacobson, Paul Le- Page, Peter Mills, Les Otten and Bruce Poliquin.

On the Democratic side, there are five candidates: Patrick McGowan, Elizabeth Mitchell, John Richardson, Steven Rowe and Rosa Scarcelli.

Fried said Greens are more closely aligned with Democrats on many issues, although they did help Republicans get signatures last fall to force a public vote on a tax-repeal question.

"In Maine, you end up with odd things that happen," Fried said. "Some of those people may not vote at all."

Chipman argues that because there will be legislative candidates to support, Greens will vote. And they will want to weigh in on the Oxford County casino question that will also be on the November ballot.

"It depends on who wins the primaries," he said. "Some candidates on the ballot are appealing to Greens."

Among them are the Republican Mills and the Democrat Mitchell, both of whom supported gay marriage, he said.

University of Southern Maine political science professor Ron Schmidt said it's difficult to predict how Greens will vote.

"Generally speaking, I would assume it would work most to the benefit of Democrats getting back the votes they might have lost to a Green candidate," he said.

Fried and Schmidt said it is damaging to the Greens not to have someone running for the most powerful job in the state. They lose face time at debates, as well as an opportunity to reach a statewide audience.

"They've managed to maintain a profile here in a way they have not in most of the country," Schmidt said. "Absence can hurt you."

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

scover@centralmaine.com

 

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