ELLSWORTH – In the final days of the primary campaign, Bruce Poliquin has taken to the road.

Thursday, he woke up at 4:30 a.m. to meet and greet at Bath Iron Works. He had a TV interview planned in Presque Isle at night, with six stops on the way. Between stops, he called voters.

“He could have gotten us over the top,” Poliquin declared after hanging up while rolling down Route 1. He had spoken with a 25-year veteran of the Department of Corrections who said he wanted a leader to hold state government accountable.

A short while later, Poliquin again picked up the phone.

“As you know now, we have five days left until D-Day,” he said, leaving a voice-mail message. “We’re gonna fix this thing when we win this thing, but we’ve got to get people to the polls.”

Poliquin said his campaign’s polling shows him tied with Otten and Sen. Peter Mills for the Republican nomination.

He said he is confident he will win, because he thinks he has presented himself as the only fiscal conservative in the race with private-sector knowledge from a career spent as an executive and as an entrepreneur.

Also, he said, his is the only organization with the “ground game” to get out the vote.

“We are making tens and tens and tens of thousands of phone calls every week, and we are knocking on thousands and thousands of doors,” he said. “We are demonstrating that we are the hardest-working campaign on either side.”

In the past 15 months, Poliquin said, he’s traveled 40,000 miles around the state.

Many of the people he met Thursday were registered as Democrats or not enrolled.

That didn’t stop him. He said he expected some voters to register Republican leading up to the primary, although records indicate that, even during the 2008 presidential-year primary, only a few thousand did.

“I don’t really look at our problems as being Republican and Democratic,” he told Beverly Stone and Sheryl Tripp at The Working Art gallery in Belfast. “They’re economic, fiscal, and (about) jobs.”

Stone rattled off questions, and before long asked whether he planned to run government like a business.

“That’s a good way to put it,” Poliquin said.

“Let’s see you take a pay cut when you get there,” she said.

“How about no pay at all?” Poliquin replied.

Ethan Wilensky-Lanford can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]


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