Eight years ago, when Paul LePage was first elected governor, the Democratic nominee’s campaign stalled out in October and ultimately received just 18 percent of the vote. Democratic voters moved in droves to the independent candidate, but too late, and he lost by just 1.5 percentage points.

Party leaders quickly blamed the independent for their candidate’s collapse, and the charge stuck. But that blame hardly explains how Democrats have lost six of the last eight gubernatorial elections.

This year, Democrats again nominated a longtime government insider to run against an outsider Republican businessman. And they’ve already begun blaming independents in advance, just in case.

On Sept. 7, a group of old friends wrote a letter to the Press Herald to urge me to withdraw from the governor’s race to make it easier for the Democratic nominee, as though elections are things that are granted and not won. I only wish they had as much concern for how desperately Maine needs new ideas, bold thinking and something Democrats haven’t offered in decades – a real plan for growing the economy.

If this election turns out to be a repeat of 2010, I wonder if those old friends have a backup strategy.

This election will define whether Maine is going to remain mired in yesterday’s ideas – from both major parties – or whether we’re going to embrace the future, build a 21st-century economy, a smarter government, energy independence, forward-looking schools and a welcoming state. That is what I offer in this race.

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