Maintaining this delicate balance isn't easy (you've got a mustard stain on your lapel, Kevin, and it's causing you to tilt to the left). Raye's opponent, Democratic US Representative Michael Michaud, has spent years building his image as a middle-of-the-roader (no, dammit, that counts as four words, you skinflint). All Michaud's supporters need to do is link Raye and LePage in the minds of the 61 percent of voters who didn't cast ballots for the governor in 2010, and a sixth term in Congress is the incumbent's for the taking.
Raye isn't alone in wavering between LePage condemnation and contamination. Republican US Senator Olympia Snowe has been targeted for defeat in the GOP primary by the national Tea Party movement for holding positions nearly identical to Raye's. But Snowe has thus far stifled local TPers from doing any serious organizing against her (she has two primary opponents, both a couple of lawn signs shy of a campaign) because she's been endorsed by LePage.
Democrats would love to exploit that link in next fall's general election, but that would require finding a strong candidate. So far, all they have is Matthew Dunlap (suggested campaign motto: A Mediocre Ex-Secretary of State With Pro-Gun Positions That'll Really Appeal to the Far-Left Voters Who Turn Out in Democratic Primaries) and state Representative Jon Hinck (Like Another Ethan Strimling Only With Even Less Appeal Outside Portland's West End).
Snowe can still pull north of 60 percent of the vote, even if she's caught making out with LePage in public — with tongue.
Raye, however, will have to watch where he puts his tongue. He can't use it to kiss the governor's butt. When mentioning LePage's name, he can't stick it in his cheek. He'll frequently have to bite it.
It's a no-win-no-matter-what-he-does situation. (What do you mean that only counts as one word?)
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: Talking Politics
, Republicans, Olympia Snowe, Michael Michaud, More