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.

CUTLER CAMPAIGN RELEASES 60-SECOND ‘CLOSING AD’

If you’ve been paying attention at all, you have seen dozens of ads aired in the Maine governor’s race.

With just one week to go before Election Day, expect the pace to pick up considerably.

Independent Eliot Cutler on Tuesday released what his campaign called its “closing” ad – a 60-second spot that highlights, among other things, his recent newspaper endorsements.

The ad opens with a clip of Cutler from four years ago saying, “I promise that together we will change Maine and give it back a future.”

It then cuts to Cutler in present day saying that he “came really close,” in 2010 but “this year, we have another chance to change Maine’s direction.”

The spot closes with a line Cutler has used often on the campaign about him being the best choice for Mainers and someone who is not beholden to special interests that have dominated the two major political parties.

“Together we will lead Maine in a direction – not left, not right, but forward,” he said.

The ad was posted on the campaign’s website with a link that reads, “Help us keep our closing ad on the air – click to contribute today.”

Television buys are the biggest expense for campaigns, and Cutler needs to stay on the air.

He had $136,000 cash on hand as of the most recent campaign filing, which covered the period from Sept. 16 to Oct. 24, although it’s always possible that the candidate will give his campaign another loan. To date, Cutler has loaned the campaign more than $1 million.

His cash on hand number was significantly lower than both Democrat Mike Michaud and Republican Paul LePage, both of whom also have benefited from millions in independent expenditures from outside groups.

On Tuesday, the Republican Governor’s Association released its latest ad, which attacks Michaud and not-so-discreetly props up Cutler.

The RGA spot explains that a vote Michaud cast when he was in the Legislature would have imposed a new tax on Social Security.

“It was such a bad idea that then-Gov. Angus King vetoed it,” the ad voiceover said. “No wonder independent King now endorses Eliot Cutler.”

The ad continues an increased effort by Republicans to promote Cutler’s campaign, to ensure that he and Michaud split enough votes to help LePage win re-election.

PAN ATLANTIC POLL HAS LePAGE, MICHAUD TIED AT 40 PERCENT, CUTLER AT 13

The latest poll of the Maine governor’s race by Portland-based firm Pan Atlantic SMS shows Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud tied at 40 percent, with independent Eliot Cutler at 13 percent.

Pan Atlantic polled 400 voters between Oct. 15-21. The survey’s margin of error was 4.9 percent.

The poll is similar to many others that have been released over the last several weeks, except this one seems to show a clear shift of support away from Cutler and toward Michaud.

Pan Atlantic conducted a poll between Sept. 23-29 – prior to the start of the debates – that showed LePage at 39 percent, Michaud at 34 percent and Cutler at 20 percent.

That means that, in less than a month, Michaud has gained 6 percentage points, Cutler has lost 7 and LePage has virtually stayed the same.

“I think that’s probably the biggest takeaway,” said pollster Patrick Murphy, referring to the Cutler/Michaud shift. “I think people thought this might have happened sooner, but people may have been waiting for the debates.”

Pan Atlantic SMS, which works often with Democrats, has an extensive polling history in Maine and its surveys were fairly accurate during the 2010 race.

A poll conducted from Oct. 11-15 before the 2010 gubernatorial election showed LePage with a 33 percent to 28 percent lead over Democrat Libby Mitchell, with Cutler trailing at 14 percent.

Two weeks later, when the dynamics of the race had started to shift, a fresh Pan Atlantic poll showed Cutler jumping to 31 percent, Mitchell dropping to 22 percent and LePage maintaining his lead at 37 percent.

That poll was among the closest to forecasting the actual election results.

The new poll also shows big leads for Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins over her Democratic challenger, Shenna Bellows, and for Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree over her two opponents, Republican Isaac Misiuk and independent Richard Murphy.

In Maine’s 2nd Congressional District race, Democrat Emily Cain has a slight lead over Republican Bruce Poliquin, 38.9 percent to 37.7 percent, but her lead is within the margin of error.


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