Watch your step. The floor might be slippery from all these drooling political consultants, an occupation noted for its lack of self-control.
Which is another reason you should be careful where you put your feet. Some of those puddles may not be saliva.
Nearly every campaign adviser in existence is frothing at the mouth (or elsewhere) at the prospect of getting involved in the 2012 US Senate race in Maine. That unrestrained enthusiasm (hey, watch the shoes) isn't due to the strength of the field for the seat being given up by Republican US Senator Olympia ("Vanishing Center") Snowe. It's because every potential candidate has such obvious flaws that doing opposition research should be easier than mopping up the floor.
Before the entire state ends up awash in bodily fluids, let me cite a few of the would-be senators' shortcomings, starting with the Democrats.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine's 1st District spent a ton of money in 2002 running against GOP Senator Susan Collins. Pingree won in Portland and lost just about everywhere else. This time around, she has even more cash (courtesy of her hedge-fund-manager hubby, who also owns part of a major daily newspaper), but still hasn't built a base north of her home on North Haven. If she runs — no sure thing — she starts as the Dem frontrunner — mostly by default.
John Baldacci doesn't have to worry about name recognition in the 2nd District. He's known and disliked everywhere. The former governor left office in 2011 with an approval rating that looked like a school-zone speed limit. In his eight years in power, he couldn't balance the budget and bungled health-care reform. Giving him the nomination would be the equivalent of the Democratic Party putting its head in the oven and turning on the gas.
Matt Dunlap, former incompetent secretary of state, has brought those same skills to his campaigning. He started out running for the Senate, switched to the House, then jumped back to the Senate. Ignoring him would be a kindness.
Benjamin Pollard is one of the many misguided souls engaged in this enterprise for reasons neither they nor anyone else can explain.
Now, the Republican senatorial hopefuls:
Secretary of State Charlie Summers has run for Congress three times, most recently in 2008 when he lost to Pingree. No wonder he thinks Maine is rife with voter fraud. Summers used to be a moderate, but, of late, has tried to appear otherwise.
State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin stays in his post only because he doesn't seem to care if he violates the state Constitution by engaging in private business. He also has problems with ethics rules and, oddly enough, the Tree Growth Law. Told Poliquin was running for the Senate, a prominent Republican said, "I think part of his brain is missing."
Attorney General Bill Schneider is smart, likable, conservative, and the GOP establishment's choice. He's never publicly displayed the lust for power that drives Summers and Poliquin, so why's he hanging around with those bozos?
Former state Senate President Rick Bennett is poised and intelligent, but the last time he ran for office (Congress in the 2nd District in 1994), he lost to Baldacci. That's tough to live down. He also may be too moderate to win a GOP primary in a year when the right-wing fanatics are stirred up.