Riding the New Conservative Wave to the Blaine House(ME-Gov.)

With the impending victory of Scott Brown in Massachussett[e]s, morally if not actual, conservatives here in the Northeast feel the winds of Change!™ shifting back in their own direction.  Here in Maine, there is a strong culture of political independence, with more Independents elected governor than Republicans in the last forty years.

The state, and Republicans in particular face a fractured primary.  There are over twenty declared candidates, seven of them in the Republican primary.  As in California, Texas, South Carolina and other states, there is an opportunity here to unite behind a solid conservative.

Here in my opinion, influenced by the quality Maine politics blog PinetreePolitics, and what I could glean from their respective campaign websites.

THE ESTABLISHMENT(Collins, Snow & Co.)

Steve Abbot Is the Establishment frontrunner who’s claim to fame is Senator Susan Collins’ long time Chief-of-Staff, helping her survive the 2008 debacle.  The website has few details on actual policy, concentrating more on endorsements and, apparently, wearing the Establishment label with pride.  He has the endorsement of former gubernatorial candidate and industrialist Peter Cianchette.

Peter Mills is a Navy vet and long-time State Senator.  According to his website, “Republicans and Democrats know him as a coalition builder with practical, independent views and a business-like approach to state finances.”  Voted for Maine’s Gay Marriage Act and has made donations to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

THE MANAGERS(ala Romney)

Matt Jacobson is a former Air Force pilot and railroad executive, and now leads a consulting firm aimed at improving the state business climate.  While on the record as opposing the Stimulus, he has said that the existing Stimulus “should be spent Intelligently.”  He attended the 2009 Republican Governor’s Association meeting.

Bruce Poliquin is a business manager who has amassed a considerable personal fortune, which he has put to good use in his campaign and conservative causes such as TABOR and the repeal of the Gay Marriage Act.  Was accused of astroturfing a Portland GOP straw-poll when it’s organizer was revealed to be his fundraising chief.  Wins the “I really want this job” award.

Les Otten is a former owner of the RedSox and ski resort mogul.  Has drawn fire for over-leveraging his ski resort, playing both sides with his political donations and for plagiarizing Obama’s “O” logo.

Paul Lepage is Mayor of Waterville and GM of local discount retailer Marden’s.  Survived 2008 as a Republican in a heavily Democratic town, while maintaining his Conservative positions, and fought to lessen the Mayor’s power by establishing a City Manager office.  Says all the “right” conservative things and has done as well as Mayor, but has a certain “Fred!” lack of public polish and campaign skill.


Bill Beardsley, former president of Husson University, where this author is a student.  Just announced, and has not established a significant presence as yet.


I think it’s fair to say that the Establishment is out from the get go in the current climate.

PAUL LEPAGE is clearly the Tea Party candidate, but that also means he’s the RONPAUL!-bot magnet.  How he reacts to his various groups of supporters will be key in how he is perceived for the larger campaign.

After that, I see MATT JACOBSON as the best of the outsiders, putting forth an excelent effort to build a strong published and online presences, while not resorting to the attention-trawling of Poliquin or carrying the baggage of Otten.

If Scott Brown can win in Massachussett[e]s, conservatives should expect bigger things than usual here in Maine, especially if we unite behind a candidate early.