EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Republican challenger Kevin Raye urged U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud on Friday to pull an “attack ad” that Raye’s campaign claims is false, misleading and “smacks of hypocrisy and cynical political opportunism.”
The advertisement is “a misleading and hypocritical attack, complete with fake photos, [and] is proof positive that the congressman’s campaign is feeling a sense of desperation because they are aware that Congressman Michaud is now in a tight race with Kevin Raye,” a Raye campaign statement released Friday states. “Congressman Michaud would not have resorted to fake photos and misleading attacks if he truly believed that Kevin Raye is far behind in what the Democrat state party chairman just days ago boldly proclaimed as ‘the race that never was.’”
The Michaud campaign stands by its advertisement, though the pictures were stock photos, campaign spokesman Dan Cashman said.
“The fact is that Kevin Raye spent more than $20,000 in taxpayers’ money for his office and the Senate Republican lounge [at the State House] that aren’t necessary to do the job of the people,” Cashman said Friday.
The 31-second television spot, which began running Friday, “is a humorous, honest and homespun look at the fact that Kevin Raye used more than $20,000 in taxpayer dollars to install a private kitchen in his office in Augusta, and a lounge solely for the use of Republican State Senators and Republican majority staff,” Cashman said in a statement Friday.
“Our opponent has been running a ‘humorous’ ad for a week now and we did not want to go any longer without replying with a ‘humorous’ ad of our own,” Cashman said.
But Raye’s campaign responded that the pictures of the kitchen and lounge were stock photos, not pictures of anything at the State House. The “kitchen” in the Senate president’s office is actually a reception area with a 14-by-10-inch sink with a dorm-size refrigerator, Raye’s campaign states.
The Senate Republicans’ “lounge” is actually a conference room with a table, chairs and some workstations, and was not redecorated as the advertisement claims, the campaign says.
Raye’s campaign called it ironic “that Congressman Michaud is attacking Kevin Raye on the issue of spending given that Kevin reduced spending on the Senate President’s staff budget by 22 percent and, as chairman of the Legislative Council, teamed up with Speaker Bob Nutting to reduce overall spending in the Legislature by over $9 million — more than a 16 percent reduction in the $55.8 million legislative budget.”
The Michaud campaign has invoices for the State House work that show expenditures totaling more than $20,000, Cashman said.
“It is not about the pictures. It is about the cost. That is what matters to the taxpayers of Maine. That is how their money is being spent ― or misused,” Cashman said.
The advertisement is Michaud’s third to hit the airwaves in this race. It will run for the next several days, Cashman said.