We sing, we dance, we steal things

Politics and other mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  November 26, 2008

Last week, I profiled the Democrats running for governor of Maine in 2010. Thousands were taken ill.

Don't put away the barf bags yet. I missed one.

ADAM COTE ran a surprisingly strong campaign for Congress this year, even though he extolled moderate positions in a who-can-out-liberal-whom primary. The Portland lawyer has never held elected office and lacks a platform for staying in the public eye. Which could be why I forgot him.

MAJOR DRAWBACK Cote was, until recently, a John McCain Republican. Is Sarah Palin available for fundraisers?

Speaking of Republicans, here comes their clown-mobile.

The first GOP candidate out the door is state senator PETER MILLS of Cornville. Mills, a lawyer, may be the smartest guy in the Legislature. (Yeah, well ...) As an unsuccessful 2006 gubernatorial candidate, he exhibited a coma-inducing campaign style, but his moderate stands on fiscal and social issues give him appeal beyond the Republican Party.

MAJOR DRAWBACK They also reduce his appeal in the GOP. It'll take some fancy footwork for him to survive a primary.

KEVIN RAYE of Perry is the new Senate minority leader, a position that probably won't improve his electability, since minority leaders tend to come off as either too partisan or too wimpy. Raye, the owner of a mustard company, ran a credible campaign for the 2nd Congressional District in 2002 and was a key staffer for US Senator Olympia Snowe, but he's unknown in southern Maine.

MAJOR DRAWBACK Like Mills, Raye is a moderate. If they both run, the GOP nomination goes to a right-winger.

Such as House Minority Leader JOSHUA TARDY of Newport. Tardy, an attorney, has political skills (his father was a Democratic legislator) and an engaging campaign style. He can play to conservatives in the primary, but in the general election, he'll have trouble getting in tune with 1st District liberals.

MAJOR DRAWBACK In the last two elections, Tardy led House Republicans to major defeats. The GOP may not let him blow another campaign.

RICK BENNETT of Oxford is a former Senate president and the guy who lost to current governor John Baldacci in the 1994 2nd District race. Not as moderate as Mills nor as conservative as Tardy, he's positioned to be the compromise candidate. He showed political courage this fall in opposing the casino referendum, even though it was popular in his hometown.

MAJOR DRAWBACK Bennett works for Cape Elizabeth millionaire Robert Monks, who's taken to endorsing Democrats.

DANA DOW of Waldoboro has served two terms in the state Senate, but didn't run for re-election this year so he could concentrate on his gubernatorial bid. He owns a furniture store. Other than that, I'm drawing a blank.

MAJOR DRAWBACK Still blank ...

Waterville Mayor PAUL LEPAGE was just re-elected in a Democratic city. He hasn't said word one about running for governor, but his name gets mentioned by panicky Republicans.

MAJOR DRAWBACK He's qualified for the job how?

JON DOYLE is an Augusta lawyer best known as a lobbyist for Central Maine Power and mental-health and substance-abuse programs.

MAJOR DRAWBACK I said lobbyist, didn't I?

That's it for the GOP. Now for the clowns who don't fit under anybody's big tent.

JOHN EDER of Portland is the only Green Independent ever elected to the Legislature.

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  Topics: News Features , U.S. Government, Peter Vigue, Peter Mills,  More more >
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