On to November!!!
The primaries are over and we have our nominee, Libby Mitchell, a strong candidate for the general election. However, if she is to win, it will require all of our efforts. It’s easy to be lulled into a sense of security that the Republicans have nominated an extreme right wing candidate, Paul LePage, who apparently had the bulk of tea party support. While we can be comforted by the fact that his desire to teach creationism in the schools and denial of global warming are out of the mainstream, he clearly tapped into something alive in the electorate, concerns about taxes and spending. This was most clearly demonstrated by how Question 1 was framed and the strong vote to repeal the tax reform law. LePage will run on these issues in the fall, which will resonate with a significant group of voters. He also has the advantage that conservatives and tea partiers seem much more motivated to vote this year.
There’s also a possibly greater threat to Libby, the independent candidate Eliot Cutler. We saw Peter Mills begin the narrative last night that many will hope to carry into November, and that is that Libby is as extreme on the left as LePage is on the right, leaving only the independent choice in the middle. We need to be very clear and work hard to dispel the notion that there’s anything radical about Libby Mitchell. She represents the best of the Democratic Party, a smart, hard-working legislator and leader, who understands how to make government work for the people, as opposed to “getting government out of people’s lives,” which translates to getting out of the way of corporations and the rich. This will be a tough race, but eminently winnable if we all work hard in the fall.
Reid Scher, Chairperson