The top contenders in Maine’s three-way gubernatorial race are relying on star power and popular endorsements to reach voters on the day before they go to the polls.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage, seeking a second four-year term, will be joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at a rally Monday in Portland – Christie’s fifth appearance on behalf of LePage in the campaign.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will team up with independent U.S. Sen. Angus King to campaign Monday in Skowhegan, trying to take advantage of King’s last-minute endorsement after he had backed independent Eliot Cutler for much of the campaign.

Cutler, who has consistently run a distant third in polls, will speak to Mainers on morning radio shows in Augusta and Bangor before traveling to South Portland to meet with employees at Unum, then to Portland for a reception with City Councilor Ed Suslovic.

All three campaigns expressed confidence as the race, which set a record for spending by both candidates and outside groups, enters its final day.

Alex Willette, spokesman for the LePage campaign, said voters have been enthusiastic about LePage’s bid for a second term.


“The most common words we’re hearing from supporters are ‘I’m a lifelong Democrat, but,’ ” he said. “From the south gate of (Bath Iron Works), to main street business visits across the state, Mainers of all stripes have voiced their support of Governor LePage and his emphasis on turning our economy around, reforming welfare and paying off the long overdue hospital debt.”

Lizzy Reinholt, Michaud’s campaign spokeswoman, said the Democratic challenger has traveled to virtually every county in the past week, encountering strong support and energy from voters. “Mainers are ready for change and eager to volunteer and get involved in the final days of the campaign to ensure that Mike is elected governor on Tuesday,” Reinholt said.

Cutler will campaign aggressively through Tuesday with a message that he’s the best hope for Mainers who are tired of partisanship and want hope for the future, said his campaign manager, Ted O’Meara. “(Eliot) continues to be overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people who are supporting him and rejecting the politics of fear and negative ads fueled by the millions of dollars that have poured into Maine from special interest PACs,” O’Meara said.

In addition to electing a governor, Mainers will decide whether to ban bear hunting with bait, traps and dogs. They will also choose between incumbent Republican Susan Collins and Democratic challenger Shenna Bellows for U.S. Senate.

Both of Maine’s U.S. House seats will also be decided. Incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree is being challenged in the 1st District by Republican Isaac Misiuk and independent Richard Murphy, and the 2nd District seat now held by Michaud will go to either Democratic state Sen. Emily Cain, Republican former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin or independent Blaine Richardson.

Final figures on political contributions and expenditures for the governor’s race won’t be known until after the election. But records at the state Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices show that the candidates’ campaigns had spent more than $7.4 million as of late last week, up from $6.3 million in 2010. Outside groups, who face no spending limits thanks to a series of court decisions on campaign finance, have funneled $11.5 million into the race, shattering the previous record of $4 million set in 2010.


King, a popular former two-term independent governor and the state’s junior U.S. senator, endorsed Cutler in August. But King switched his support to Michaud last week, hours after Cutler said in a news conference that while he wouldn’t drop out of the race, his supporters were free to vote for another candidate if they no longer believed Cutler could win.

King’s endorsement could prove critical if it helps Michaud harvest votes of defecting Cutler supporters.

“Every election comes down to turnout, which is why we’ve put such a strong emphasis on our grassroots field program,” said Reinholt, the spokeswoman for Michaud.

Before his evening appearance with Christie, LePage plans to spend much of his day in York and Cumberland counties, where he will visit businesses, greet supporters and try to get out the vote, said Willette, LePage’s spokesman.

When LePage won his first term in 2010, nearly 60 percent of registered voters cast ballots. LePage received about 39 percent, enough to win in a three-way contest that saw Cutler surge late in the race, overtaking Democrat Libby Mitchell and finishing just 2 percentage points behind LePage.

Polls in most communities open at 7 a.m., and all close at 8 p.m.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.