Jason Levesque, who hopes to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in the 2nd District, has a new TV ad debuting today, and like most of the Auburn Republican’s campaign, it sets his incumbent opponent and the flagging U.S. economy squarely in its sights.
It begins with the question, “Who is Mike Michaud listening to?” It answers, “Nancy Pelosi,” and pictures the two standing together with the Democrat from East Millinocket favoring the speaker of the House with a vastly enlarged ear.
It goes on to highlight The Washington Post’s claim that Michaud voted with Pelosi 96 percent of the time — which Michaud rebuts — saying that Pelosi doesn’t vote on House issues half the time and his votes for the nationwide health care plan, a national energy tax and the stimulus package, which occurred, the commercial says, as Maine lost jobs and the national debt skyrocketed.
The ear appears a few more times.
“From a creative standpoint, this conveys a message to the voters of Maine. It shows to them, and they see it, as a little tongue-in-cheek that he is not listening to the people, that he is listening to party politics,” Levesque said Saturday. “He is not one of us, working for us. He is one of them, working for them, and that’s the entire theme of the commercial.”
Michaud campaign manager Greg Olson said the 30-second spot shows that Levesque “continues to offer the same partisan talking points torn from the playbook of his national party without offering any real solutions for Maine.”
“One would think that after 18 months of campaigning he would have offered one positive idea for why he should be in Congress. Yet all he can offer is criticism of Mike Michaud,” Olson said in a written statement. “Mainers are not looking for a bomb-throwing partisan to represent them in Congress. They’re looking for some-one who works hard and works with anyone to solve Maine’s problems.”
Among Michaud’s accomplishments for Mainers, Olson said, are helping to enact legislation that: increased and expanded health benefits for Maine veterans; increased truck-weight limits on Maine’s highways to benefit Maine industries; helped form a bipartisan House Trade Working Group “to undo the legacy of NAFTA”; and fought Pelosi and his own party on the Wall Street bailout and the pay-as-you-go rules for Congress.
“Mike Michaud has stood up against the status quo in Washington,” Olson said, adding that “Michaud is working to change the tone in Washington in order to deliver results for Maine.”
Levesque’s ad will run statewide over the next few weeks, Levesque said.
Levesque believes he has momentum on his side, and he hopes to get a financial boost from the Republican National Congressional Committee, giving him a shot in the arm in the run-up to Election Day.
University of Maine political science professor Mark Brewer says it all adds up to the “toughest fight” Michaud has faced since he was first elected to the House eight years ago.
In the last election at this time, a poll had Michaud ahead of John Frary by 41 percentage points. A recent poll puts Michaud ahead of Levesque by 12 percentage points.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.