Everyone pretty much wrote off Maine when former Governor Angus King announced he would run as an independent for the seat vacated by Olympia Snowe. Everyone understood that King’s independence notwithstanding, he would caucus with Democrats.
King was far ahead in the polls, and then a funny thing happened. A Club for Growth related group ran some ads actually pointing out King’s record, and his numbers tanked. Via Marc Thiesen in WaPo (h/t Charles):
When Sen. Olympia Snowe announced her retirement last year, many Republicans wrote Maine off — and with it their chances of taking back the U.S. Senate. At the start of July, a Portland Press Herald poll showed independent former governor Angus King with a 28-point lead over his closest rival, Republican Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers (Democratic state Sen. Cynthia Dill came in third with 7 percent).But then the Friends of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce got into the race, launching an ad campaign that declared the former governor the “King of Spending” and the “King of Mismanagement.”
“When King was governor, state spending skyrocketed to $2.6 billion,” the ad declared to the tune of medieval music. “When King left office, he left Maine with a $1 billion budget shortfall. Declare your independence from this king.”
Result: After just two weeks, King’s lead over Summers dropped 10 points.
Republican supporting groups also are running ads supporting the Democratic candidate, who has been abandoned by Democrats in favor of King:
A Republican political action committee began airing television advertisements Friday in support of Democrat Cynthia Dill’s Senate campaign.
A group calling itself Maine Freedom has purchased air time on four Portland television stations to broadcast a commercial in support of Dill, a state senator who is the Democratic candidate vying for Sen. Olympia Snowe’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat.
Maine Freedom’s treasurer is listed as Michael G. Adams, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office of law firm Dinsmore & Shohl. He serves as general counsel for the Republican Governors Association, according to his corporate biography…
This would be a somewhat analogous situation to what Democrats did to the Republican primary in Missouri, running something of a false flag operation to move the opposing party’s electorate.
I say good on them. If we can hold Maine, taking back the Senate looks a whole lot more likely, even if Akin stays in the race in Missouri.