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Bill Becker

Governor's Race Rundown

The race to the Blaine House is heating up. Here's some gubernatorial errata from today:

Clean Sweep:

Today at 5pm is the deadline to qualify for clean elections funding by submitting 3,250 $5 contributions and proof of $40,000 raised in seed money. Mills, Mitchell and McGowan have all said they've already met the requirements, leaving John Richardson as the odd man out. Watch for a release from his campaign today.


Speaking of Richardson, the campaign can't have been helped by the story in Maine newspapers yesterday penned by the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting about a patronage appointment within the DECD.

Also, the candidate's son, also named John Richardson, writes in to answer the button question: "Dad's been using that style since his first campaign signs in the late 90's. I'm not sure if he was choosing to invoke an emotional connection to Brennan, knowing him, I'm guessing he just liked the color scheme."

Unity of One:

Rosa Scarcelli sent out a release earlier this week asking her Democratic competitors to join her in a unity press conference ahead of Obama's visit today. According to spokesperson Dennis Bailey, none of them responded. "We'll do it anyway," says Bailey. "Unity of one."

Not Too Offended:

Matt Jacobson sent out a letter yesterday attacking Maine's clean election system in general and fellow Republican candidate Peter Mills specifically for running a publicly-funded campaign.

"I'm offended, and I know that you are too," wrote Jacobson.

I asked Jacobson campaign manager Bill Becker if his candidate's disapproval extended to the Republican legislative candidates running clean and if he would also be publicly asking them to refrain from using the clean elections system (71% of Republicans ran clean in 2008).

Jacobson's response:

"I expect a higher standard of leadership from gubernatorial candidates. While I would hope the financial circumstances we are experiencing would inspire all candidates to raise their own money, people aspiring to Maine's highest office have an obligation to lead and set an example. Maine's four "Clean Elections" gubernatorial candidates may well receive more than $2.4M in taxpayer dollars - just in the primary. For that amount of money, the state could certainly fund greater priorities than to buy bumper stickers and lawn signs.

"As Governor, I would have line-item vetoeed that expense this year."

Translation: "No"

Jacobson Accuses Portland Republicans of Conflict of Interest

According to a statement posted on his campaign blog, GOP gubernatorial candidate Matt Jacobson is boycotting a forum being held by the Portland City Republican Committee.

Jacobson's campaign is protesting the fact that a staff member for rival candidate Bruce Poliquin is running the event and says that this individual has likely rigged the forum in favor of his employer.

"Matt withdrew his support of the event today because of a previously undisclosed conflict of interest between Bruce Poliquin's staff and the Portland City Republican Committee," said Bill Becker, Matt Jacobson's campaign manager. "Though unknown to the other candidates, Poliquin's paid professional fundraiser was also retained by the Portland Republican Committee to orchestrate their forum. A straw poll was then added to the event without the other candidates' knowledge or consent."

"It can't be an objective and level event when one of the candidates’ staff is also the forum's organizer, and when a straw poll is held for just those attendees who had paid the high price of entry. It should have been perceived by the Poliquin campaign as a conflict of interest right from the start. Mainers expect to see campaigns that are fair, ethical and based on issues rather than tired political antics. This just doesn’t pass the straight-face test."