With the debates in the tightly contested gubernatorial race due to end this week, one campaign – on the eve of Monday night’s televised debate – stepped up its efforts to attract undecided voters by announcing that one of the nation’s best-known politicians will appear on its behalf in Maine this week.

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s campaign said Sunday that former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will be in Scarborough on Friday to campaign with the Democratic candidate for governor.

“There is so much at stake in this election, and we can’t take anything for granted. If we want change in Augusta, we have to make it happen,” Michaud said in a statement. “That’s why I am so humbled and excited to have Hillary Clinton coming to Maine to rally voters and join me in energizing supporters so we can ensure a great turnout on Election Day.”

A spokesman for Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election campaign responded to the news that the former first lady would speak to a crowd at Scarborough High School by saying that voters can expect to see at least one more “high-profile Republican” come to Maine on LePage’s behalf before the Nov. 4 election.

Meanwhile, independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who has been endorsed by independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, a former Maine governor, said the news that Clinton would be coming to Maine is a sign “that (Michaud’s) campaign is in trouble” and needs a jump-start from a big-name politician.

Monday’s debate will be held on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine. The debate – to be aired on WGME-TV, Channel 13 – is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in Hannaford Hall.


The final scheduled televised debate will be Tuesday night at the Auburn studios of WMTW-TV, Channel 8. It also will start at 7 p.m.

Lizzy Reinholt, a spokeswoman for Michaud’s campaign, said the previous debates have not significantly changed voters’ opinions of the candidates.

“I think the dynamics remain the same. It’s going to be a tight race between us and Gov. LePage,” Reinholt said.

Most polls have placed Michaud and LePage in a tight race with Cutler trailing well behind, but Cutler says polls can be misleading.

“Polls are snapshots in time,” Cutler said in a telephone interview Sunday night. “I’m more confident today than I was yesterday. The race is wide open.”

Cutler said he believes that a strong showing by a candidate in a debate can influence the way a person votes, especially the large number of undecided voters that remain in Maine. In 2010, Cutler made a late surge in the governor’s race and came close to defeating LePage.


Alex Willette, LePage’s re-election campaign spokesman, said the governor has used previous debates as a way to communicate directly to voters.

“The governor has been able to get his message out without the fetters of a newspaper,” Willette said. “People know he is a plain-spoken guy who doesn’t mince words.”

Willette noted that Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has visited Maine three times this year to campaign on behalf of LePage.

Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida also came to Maine in February to host a fundraiser for the governor.

Willette said he was unable to disclose the identity of the high-profile Republican who is expected to come to Maine later this month.

Reinholt said the Michaud campaign event that Clinton will attend at Scarborough High School will be open to the public beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday. She said those who want to attend may RSVP at www.michaud2014.com/hillary. President Obama is scheduled to appear Oct. 30 at the Portland Exposition Building on behalf of Michaud.

Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton, and first lady Michelle Obama have already come to Maine this year to campaign for Michaud.

Cutler’s campaign announced Sunday that he had received an endorsement from the Portsmouth Herald.

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