Outlook: Leans Democratic
June 14, 2006 Update:
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Governor John Baldacci is having some problems. The polls show it, and his primary showed it, when a very minor, unknown candidate named Chris Miller secured a quarter of the primary vote on June 13. But Baldacci scored a landslide compared to the very close Republican contest, when state senator Chandler Woodcock emerged the winner with roughly 39 percent of the vote; his closest opponent, fellow state senator Peter Mills was close behind with 35 percent.
There are also a few independents on the ballot for governor in the Pine Tree State, and since Jim Longley won the Maine governorship in the 1970s and Angus King did so twice in the 1990s, Independents cannot be counted out. They include David John Jones, Barbara Merrill, John Michael and Phillip Morris NaPier. Baldacci starts out as the frontrunner for reelection, but he is a shaky frontrunner. Election watchers will want to keep an eye on this one, at least for a while.
March 27, 2006 Update:
Everybody and his brother and sister is running for governor in Maine, which doesn’t surprise anyone familiar with the state’s politics. After all, this is a state that has elected two independents who served for 12 years in the governor’s mansion since the mid-1970s. The divided opposition actually helps incumbent Democrat John Baldacci though, and he is still a slight–though unenthusiastic–favorite for reelection.
Governor John Baldacci is almost certain to receive well under 50 percent of the vote, but he appears to have been helped by the selection of Chandler Woodcock as the GOP nominee. Woodcock is considered conservative in the Maine context, and this is not a conservative state by any means. At the same time, the Green party candidate may take some votes from the Democratic column. We sense that Baldacci has an edge, but Mainers are unenthusiastic about him. Still, we cannot measure torque in the voting booth, and it simply doesn’t matter how vigorously pull the level for a candidate; a vote is a vote is a vote.
It may not matter whom the Republicans nominate for governor, since this formerly rock-ribbed state is usually Democratic these days. Incumbent Democrat John Baldacci, a former congressman, has had a somewhat controversial first term, and his ratings are not as high as one would expect for a Democratic chief executive in the state. Nonetheless, Baldacci will probably be able to win reelection.
Maine is willing to elect the occasional Independent or moderate Republican (such as its two U.S. Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins), but the state’s voters are likely to leave the governorship in Baldacci’s hands.
John Baldacci (I) – Democrat – current Governor and former U.S. Congressman
Chandler Woodcock – Republican – current state senator, former teacher, Vietnam War veteran
Alex Hammer – Independent – former publishing executive, resident of Bangor
Barbara Merrill – Independent – current Maine state legislator, former lawyer and lobbyist
Bruce Fleming – Independent – publisher, running a write-in campaign
David John Jones – Independent – inventor, restorationist and community activist
John Michael – Independent – former state representative
Pat LaMarche – Independent – radio talk show host, ’04 Green Party VP nominee
Phillip Morris NaPier – Independent – USAF Veteran & Felons United Founder