A fool for everyone

Trimming the flab from the governor's race
By AL DIAMON  |  January 20, 2010

Time to dispose of a few inconsequential gubernatorial candidates.

With 25 people officially running, the field is filled with oddballs who should be doing something less demeaning. Reality TV, maybe.

Democratic state Representative Dawn Hill may have recognized this. Hill recently ended her nonexistent campaign (motto: Who? For What? You're Kidding?). She's now working on her strategy for losing a state Senate race.

Democrat Eriq Manson and Green Independent Patrick Quinlan have both placed their candidacies on inactive status. Not a major change.

Most of the non-party candidates will claim they deserve the benefit of the doubt. OK. I doubt they can raise much money. I doubt they can get on the ballot. I doubt they have as much support as Dawn Hill.

Allow me to do what they lack the nerve to do. It's all over for no-chancers Sam Bailey, Chris Cambron, Beverly Cooper-Pete, Augustus Edgerton, Alex Hammer, and John Whitcomb. I'm sure years of therapy will help you all understand what compelled you to run for an office you were utterly unqualified to hold.

Lest you think I'm prejudiced against independents, allow me to eliminate a few major-party non-contenders. That's it for Republican J. Martin Vachon (attempting to repeat his 2006 performance of failing to gather the required signatures) and Democrats Peter Truman (convicted of stealing Clean Election money) and Donna Dion (a former mayor of Biddeford, with emphasis on "former").

That leaves seven GOP candidates, five Democrats, one Green, and an independent. More thinning is needed.

Finance reports turned in last week should help. Republicans Matt Jacobson and Paul LePage will have to make better-than-expected showings (supermarket coupons don't count), or both will be relegated to the category of candidates circling the drain in a counterclockwise direction. Jacobson's hope of support from GOP moderates in the business community was dashed by the entry into the race of Steve Abbott, ex-chief of staff for US Senator Susan Collins. LePage has yet to gain traction outside Waterville, where he's mayor, leaving his campaign in a Dawn Hill-like valley.

Former Husson University president Bill Beardsley just announced his quirky quest for the GOP nomination. It would be presumptuous of me to write him off in the first paragraph I've ever written about him.

But Beardsley is unknown outside Bangor and academia, has no experience campaigning and needs support from the same people who're backing Abbott. So, I'll write him off in this paragraph, instead.

That leaves a manageable Republican field of Abbott (did I mention I used to be Susan Collins's top guy?), developer Bruce Poliquin (did I mention I've got lots of money?), failed ski mogul Les Otten (did I mention that, in spite of my setbacks, I've still got lots of money?), and state Senator Peter Mills (did I mention I vote a lot with the Democrats? If not, I have a lengthy, mind-numbing explanation for that).

My bet's on Abbott.

As for the Dems, former state conservation commissioner Pat McGowan has pluses — he's an excellent retail politician and the only candidate in his party from the 2nd District — and minuses — he's running a publicly funded campaign, which could leave him with too little cash to compete with privately funded competition, and he's closely tied to the current governor, who's popular like trench mouth.

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