Politics & Other Mistakes: We sing, we dance, we steal things

6 mins read

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?

Al Diamon

Speaking of Republicans, here comes their clown-mobile.

The first GOP candidate out the door is state Sen. 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 U.S. Sen. 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 Gov. 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.

Major drawback: He’s also the only Green to fail to win re-election. Still, the party is desperate for a candidate.

Last time I checked, Peter Vigue was a Democrat, but if he runs for governor in ’10, the CEO of Cianbro Corp. will likely do so as a independent. Vigue is calling for a privately financed east-west highway across Maine, although he must have other issues squirreled away someplace.

Major drawback: Business expertise translates into political expertise about like it translates into circus expertise. CEOs tend to lack patience, thick skin and the ability to suck up to people like John Martin.

Auburn Mayor John Jenkins is charismatic. After announcing he wasn’t running for re-election in 2007, he won another term anyway, as a write-in. He used to be mayor of Lewiston and a Democratic state senator with a lousy attendance record.

Major drawback: He’s mostly talk. Jenkins has made gubernatorial noises before, but never got organized.

Sam Bailey, a Boston investment advisor, claims on his Web site to have risen from poverty in Aroostook County to living “an opulent life style in a Gorham Estate with an indoor pool and a Ferrari.” He expects to capture the Blaine House on the “unspoken coattails” of African-American governors in New York and Massachusetts.

Major drawback: Investment advisor? Opulent life style? Unspoken coattails? Pick one.

In 2007, while Peter Truman (then calling himself Peter Throumoulos) of Old Orchard Beach was serving a 60-day jail sentence for stealing state Clean Election funds, he decided to run for governor.

Major drawback: Truman now says health problems will prevent that. He made voters sick.

Got somebody better? E-mail aldiamon@herniahill.net.

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