U.S. Sen. Angus King endorsed Eliot Cutler in August.

U.S. Sen. Angus King endorsed independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler in August.

Remember? No, well good news, the Republican Governors Association has arrived with a reminder. The spot has been blasted by Democrats as another attempt by Republicans to boost Cutler’s candidacy, which recent polls have shown is either stagnant or losing ground to Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud. Even Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd took notice.

King  may be supporting Cutler, but he’s not thrilled that he’s used in the RGA ad. After all, King is familiar with the tactic. In the 2012 U.S. Senate race, Maine Freedom an outside group — ironically with ties to the RGA — attempted to defeat King by dividing the Democratic and center-left vote by running an ad touting Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill. Dill was running a distant third at the time and Republican candidate Charlie Summers was attempting to chip into King’s lead.

At the time, King called the 2012 ad deceptive. Even though he’s supporting Cutler this year, he had similar reaction to the new RGA ad.

Reached by phone Tuesday, King said, “I think these ads aren’t honest. They’re trying to promote one candidate when they’re really trying to promote someone else. It’s a left-handed way of campaigning. … I just think it’s one more indication of where our politics has gone. We can’t have an open and honest discussion of the issues. Instead we’re trying to trick people.”


He added, “Needless to say, I don’t like being used in it, but it’s a free country and my words were made publicly so I suppose they can use them.”

King has not appeared in any ads for Cutler’s campaign since September. He noted that he didn’t cut the ad, but the Cutler campaign used footage from the endorsement announcement.

“They basically used the materials from my public statements and created the ad,” he said. “They didn’t ask me to do anything more than that.”

King has also endorsed U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Emily Cain, the Democratic candidate running for the 2nd Congressional District.

On Tuesday, the Cain campaign announced that King would appear in a new radio ad.

“I did do a radio spot with Emily, but it’s not trying to trick people into voting for somebody else,” King said.


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