AUGUSTA – While most of the political attention lately has been focused on the June 8 primary, independent candidates have been turning in signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

Three gubernatorial hopefuls — Shawn Moody of Gorham, Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth, and Kevin Scott of Andover — have turned in more than 4,000 signatures to qualify, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Samme Bailey of Gorham said he is on track to have enough signatures to qualify by Tuesday’s deadline.

Alex Hammer of Bangor said he will try to meet the requirement, although it was unclear whether he would have enough signatures validated by town clerks.

Martin Vachon of Mariaville, who began the race as a Republican but dropped his party affiliation midway through, said he will not have the signatures needed to have his name appear on the ballot. But he does plan to run as a write-in.

Several others indicated an interest in running, but some said they could not meet the threshold and others did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Those who do make the ballot will face a Democrat and a Republican in November.

Maine has elected two independent governors: Jim Longley in 1974 and Angus King, who served from 1995 to 2003.

Independents, who are officially called “unenrolled” in Maine, constitute the largest voting bloc in the state, with 365,690 registered voters, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Cutler, a lawyer, businessman and former Carter administration official, said his sense is that this year, the electorate is looking not only for nonpartisan candidates but also for those who can solve problems.

“What I think it means is people are looking for non-ideological, competent, experienced and fair-minded people who will fix something that’s broken,” he said.

Moody, who is founder of Moody’s Collision Centers, said he is waiting until after the primary to decide whether he’s going to enter the race.

“We’re going to wait until June 9 to formally announce,” he said. “It is dependent upon who gets the nod in the Democratic and Republican ticket.”

Scott, owner of Recruiting Resources International, said recent upsets on the national level, such as the victory of Rand Paul in the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Kentucky, and the ouster of Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah, show voter dissatisfaction with the status quo.

“The national mood is really leaning toward this movement of not promoting incumbents,” he said. “People nationwide have shown political parties have not been living up to their expectations.”


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