Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, who told his supporters Wednesday to vote for one of his opponents if their consciences compel them to do so, is reducing his remaining television advertising buys by about 20 percent.

Crystal Canney, the campaign’s spokeswoman, said Thursday that Cutler, who is running a distant third in the race, had purchased $150,000 in advertising on multiple stations through Monday but was reducing the buy by $30,000.

Canney described the reductions after reports began circulating on social media that Cutler had pulled all of his advertising. She said the reports were based on a mistake by the campaign’s media buyer, who purchases the television time. Instead of ordering a reduction, the buyer erroneously canceled all the ads, she said.

“It was supposed to be a reduction, not a cancellation,” Canney said.

Various independent polls show Cutler with anywhere from 7 to 21 percent of the vote, far behind his opponents, Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

In the shadow of such numbers, Cutler held a confusing press conference Wednesday at his Portland office in which he both declined to withdraw from the race and told his supporters to vote for someone else if their consciences dictate.

A few hours later, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King withdrew his support for Cutler, saying the independent can’t win the election, and endorsed Michaud.

Cutler raised $183,088 from Sept. 16 to Oct. 24, and reported having $136,353 cash on hand as of Oct. 24.

Since then, Cutler has loaned his campaign $150,000 more, according to finance reports. Barring any other large expenses, that will leave Cutler with about $156,000 on hand before Election Day.

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