GOP wave ready to crash over blue-state Maine?
posted at 8:57 pm on September 22, 2010 by Slublog
Only a few weeks to go until ballot-castin’ time.
Thank you, Mr. President.
That is not entirely fair, of course. Maine Democrats have done enough on their own to deserve replacement. But the last time the Maine electorate got tired of the status quo, they elected an independent. The independent in this race, Eliot Cutler, peaked at 16% in August and now hovers between 11 and 14 percent. What’s fascinating about LePage is that his lead keeps growing, no matter what the media and Democrats throw at him.
One reason for this is that LePage is a likable candidate. He’s a happy warrior who promises voters lower state spending, no tax hikes and welfare reform. In addition, LePage is an accomplished person with a near-Dickensian life story – he was homeless at age 11 and spent two years supporting himself shining shoes. He worked his way through high school, college, and graduate school and became a successful businessman. As if that weren’t enough, LePage also managed to get himself elected Mayor in a highly-Democratic city. He’s an impressive guy.
Still, that’s not really enough to explain the high poll numbers he’s been getting. That’s where the president comes in.
Maine is ranked 36th in median household income, but 13th in the per capita tax rate. On average, Mainers give $2,432 to the state government alone every year (as of 2005 – it’s more now). Add in federal taxes and you can see why so many voters in this state were impressed by Obama’s promise of a “net spending cut.”
That…didn’t exactly work out as promised.
I’ve lived in this state for just over two decades, and I’ve never seen voters this angry – not even in 1994. I think the reason LePage is likely to be Maine’s next governor is that voters believe his policies will lead to the spending cuts – at least on the state level – that Obama promised during the campaign. It’s pretty clear to me that voters in other states are thinking along the same lines.
Call it the “Obama effect.”
Update – Patrick Ishmael points out that both Maine House seats have been downgraded in recent weeks. Both have moved from ‘Safe Dem’ to ‘Leans Dem.’ Both seats are still slight longshots, but in 1994, so was James B. Longley, Jr. If I had to guess, I’d say the first congressional district will probably still go to the Democrats this year, but the second? Let’s just say that central, northern, and western Maine are a bit more conservative than
north Boston southern Maine.
Representative Jason Levesque? Possible.