BANGOR, Maine — Todd Palin, husband of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, will spend the weekend in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Palin is the first marquee-name surrogate from either party to campaign here during the general election. He will host a barbecue with supporters at the Moosehead Trail Trading Post in Palmyra at 2 p.m. Saturday and another at Harry’s Motor Sports in Presque Isle at noon Sunday.
Both events are open to the public.
Last week, Sen. John McCain’s campaign announced it was sending resources to Maine in hopes of putting the state’s four electoral votes in play. Maine is one of only two states that split electoral votes, and McCain believes he at least can contest the state 2nd Congressional District, historically the more conservative of the two.
So far, McCain’s resources have been limited to advertising buys in the Bangor and Presque Isle media markets, although there have been swirling rumors of a high-profile visit for days.
Todd Palin’s appearances will help highlight McCain’s commitment to contest the Pine Tree State, said University of Maine political scientist Mark Brewer.
“I’ve always thought McCain had a shot in the 2nd District,” he said. “And [Palin] certainly doesn’t hurt, although I don’t know that she helps as much as some people think.”
Brewer said the similarities between Maine and Alaska, where the Palins live and where Sarah Palin has been governor for the last two years, are obvious. The McCain-Palin ticket has received the endorsement of the Maine Snowmobile Association, which has close to 30,000 members, many in northern Maine.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has held a comfortable advantage in Maine since the primary season ended in June, although two recent polls have shown a closer race.
Brewer said it’s likely the Obama campaign would send a surrogate to Maine before Election Day, but predicted that it might be a bigger name now.
“What this probably does is raise the caliber of surrogate,” he said. “And then, of course, if Sarah Palin comes, [Obama] will send an even bigger name.”
The Obama campaign has not made any announcements about surrogates coming to Maine.