Take, for example, Jason Levesque. He's running for Congress in Maine's 2nd District against incumbent Democrat Mike Michaud. As the GOP candidate, Levesque can probably count on most of the fanatics who turn out for LePage to also put a checkmark next to his name. That means he can expect to pick up about 40 percent of the vote. Which would be great if he were in a five-way race. But he's not. His only opponent is Michaud, who's likely to receive the support of the anti-LePage crowd, more or less by default.
As we've already seen, that segment constitutes 60 percent of the electorate, so it's so long, Levesque.
It's much the same in the state's 1st District, where Republican Dean Scontras is trying to convince the Tea Partiers that he's their guy by pretending to be more populist and less partisan than he was in his failed 2008 congressional primary bid. Scontras might be a good enough actor to pull this off with LePage's constituency, which gets all squishy over nonpartisan populists. But, again, that leaves him with 40 percent of the vote, while first-term Democratic US Representative Chellie Pingree pulls in most of the rest.
LePage's 40-percent ceiling could also have a similar impact on close state Senate and House races, perhaps enough of them to cost Republicans the legislative majorities they believe they're so close to achieving.
So, like I said before, the gubernatorial election is over. LePage wins. No question.
As for the rest of the candidates with an "R" following their names on the ballot, the outcomes aren't quite so clear-cut. They can drink more deeply from that questionable cup of tea. Or they can take a shot of something stronger and try to appeal to voters who may be dissatisfied with the way Democrats have run the state, but aren't buying LePage's antics.
Because, in reality, it ain't over till it's over.
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