He’s probably the best-known challenger yet to compete for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s seat, but Maine Senate President Kevin Raye still introduces himself to 2nd Congressional District voters in his first television ad of the 2012 campaign.
The 32-second spot describes the Republican from Perry as a problem-solving leader and small-business owner who will break political gridlock in Washington. It started running Wednesday on television stations in Bangor, Portland and Presque Isle, campaign spokesman Rob Caverly said.
“It is about introducing the voters of Maine to Kevin and describes what the campaign is about,” Caverly said Wednesday. “It is a two-fold approach: We want to introduce them to Kevin and let them see the positive approach that we are bringing to this campaign.”
“We are trying to run a positive, issues-based, constructive campaign,” Caverly added.
Michaud spokesman Dan Cashman said the four-term Democrat from East Millinocket also wants to run a positive, issues-based campaign.
“If that is the goal on both sides, that’s fantastic,” Cashman said Wednesday, adding that Michaud likes the idea of a campaign without “name-calling or mudslinging.”
“That’s what we hope to see going forward,” Cashman said.
Michaud plans to air several television commercials soon, said Cashman, who declined to give specifics. The Michaud campaign will run on the congressman’s record, he said.
“Mike Michaud has a great record in Washington fighting for veterans, small businesses and manufacturing, among others,” Cashman said.
Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Jon Courtney also planned to start running campaign spots on local stations Wednesday. Though Caverly declined to describe his candidate as a moderate Republican, Raye’s commercial touts Raye’s 17 years as an aide to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
Snowe’s moderate stance helped her to build a reputation, over 33 years in Congress, as someone eager to build political bridges between moderates from both parties. It also contributed to her decision in February not to seek a fourth term because she felt that political partisanship within the Senate made further work pointless.
The narration to Raye’s commercial said the co-owner of Raye’s Mustard Mill in Eastport “brought Democrats and Republicans together to balance five budgets, reduce debt and encourage job growth.”
“Washington is broken. We need somebody to work to solve problems,” Raye said in the commercial. “That’s what I have done in Augusta. That’s what I will do in Washington.”
Raye fought off a primary challenge from Republican Blaine Richardson of Belfast, who described himself as having “latent tea party tendencies,” to secure the GOP nomination in June. Raye lost a race against Michaud in 2002 before being elected to the Legislature.
Raye’s campaign, which has drawn favorable attention from the national GOP, will not presume that his service in Augusta means he is well-known to voters, Caverly said.
“He is probably more known than a lot of people that could have ran for this, but we still need to introduce him to the district,” Caverly said.
Michaud and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk will tour the New Balance shoe factory in Norridgewock on Thursday to underline the importance of maintaining trade tariffs, Cashman said.
Raye will visit farms in Turner and surrounding towns to illustrate his support of state-based agriculture, Caverly said.