“​​Can a retired doctor from Down East get elected Maine governor without money, staff, political experience or a platform?”

So opens the Oct. 23 Telegram profile of Sam Hunkler. And that’s the question: Can he? Reporter Colin Woodard’s deft depiction of the third candidate for governor in Maine, a 65-year-old resident of Wass Island, south of Jonesport, gave us plenty to chew on.

The profile concludes with a line on the challenge Hunkler faces.

“It’s been a struggle,” he told Woodard, referring to the effort to gain traction as a little-known independent candidate, “and they did a poll a few weeks ago that had me at 1.34%. I’m not getting any media – there are reports about the other two all the time where I’m not even mentioned. I’m finding people every day who said they had no idea there was a third person running.”

Anybody who read Sunday’s piece will have had that cleared up for them. But other questions and reservations swirl. Here, we’re highlighting some of the most thoughtful responses from our readers.

• “While I wouldn’t consider it a disaster if (Janet) Mills wins, I voted for Hunkler. He seems like a kind man who will listen to the people he governs which is what we need at this point in time. I’ve never brought myself to vote for Paul LePage. While he did some good things while in office he didn’t listen to the voters on MaineCare or elderly housing and he can’t get along with others. Hunkler likely won’t win but he deserves credit for running a grassroots campaign.” – bootjack


• “It’s hard to put much faith in a doctor that refuses vaccines because the drug companies make a profit selling them. Is he putting patients at risk because of irrational personal beliefs?” – HalseyTaylor

• “The only explanation I saw for him running was that he wants to demonstrate that he can run. I’m pretty sure that Mainers already know about the petition thing. Heck! Portland runs on them! There’s more to service than just being a nice guy. When he was in Alaska he used his medical skills to assist the community. As governor, what skills would he use and how would that assist the community? He needs to answer this question – first for himself and then for us – before he can even think about the (state budget) deficit/surplus question.” – vjkpeace

• “What hubris! Janet Mills has been in the trenches fighting the good fight for over 30 years, and why? Not because she could get signatures on her petition. Because she cares about Maine, about its people, and has a passion for justice. I’m sure Dr. Hunkler is a cool guy. So is my dad. Now that he’s retired maybe he should dabble in medicine, at least he follows science!” – SoPoCam

• “Because we can’t have ranked-choice for governor, he’s running as a potential spoiler.” – Mainestay

• “If Maine legislators from both duopoly parties would do their duty and amend the Maine Constitution so ranked-choice voting could be used for the governor’s race, Dr. Hunkler’s quixotic independent candidacy might make sense and be entirely admirable. As it stands, much as he exemplifies many noble and admirable qualities as an individual, the best we Mainers can hope for is his run for the Blaine House does not result in a plurality win close enough that the ‘victor’ could reasonably be seen as having won due to Hunkler’s role as a ‘spoiler’ candidate.” – ChristopherWhite

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