Comings and Goings: The national parties appear to have bailed on Maine’s Senate race, withdrawing their advertising. Meanwhile, groups tied to former George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have kept at it. The King-supporting Americans Elect is spending the rest of its $1.75 million ($500,000 of which is from Bloomberg) on ads and mailers while Rove’s Crossroads GPS recently launched another $348,000 anti-King ad campaign. On a smaller scale, another Republican super PAC, Safe Nation PAC, tried its luck on a mailer boosting Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill in an effort to peel Democratic support away from King, and then started airing pro-Summers radio ads. And the International Association of Firefighters started a pro-King radio ad campaign.
No PAC Mentality: In a record-breaking year for outside campaign spending, Maine has been left largely out of the money when it comes to outside spending on its U.S. House races. The Federal Election Commission lists $50.80 in independent expenditures for the 1st District race between Democratic incumbent Chellie Pingree and Jon Courtney. The committee to re-elect Ohio U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who lost a Democratic primary in March, spent the money on Pingree’s behalf Thursday for “emails.”
Maine’s 2nd District contest between incumbent Democrat Mike Michaud and Republican Kevin Raye has garnered, to date, a single outside spending hit of $11,308 by the National Federation for Independent Businesses to buy online ads for Raye. While not an independent expenditure, the National Republican Congressional Committee this week contributed $82,000 to Raye’s campaign to jointly pay for more airtime for a Raye ad featuring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.
To check for late independent expenditures, go to www.fec.gov/disclosureie/ienational.do.
Also-Ran for Also-Running: The Republicans’ 2008 presidential nominee, U.S. Sen. John McCain, is encouraging Maine voters to back Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers. Summers’ campaign recently started calling voters with a recorded phone call from the Arizona senator. McCain describes Summers as a “fellow Navy veteran” and “just the kind of senator Maine and America needs.”
Completing the Pair: Former U.S. Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., announced his backing Wednesday for independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King. Simpson’s endorsement for King came more than a month after his colleague, Erskine Bowles, endorsed King and visited Maine to co-host a town hall with him focused on the national debt. Simpson and Bowles, a former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, crafted the eponymous Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan. The pair have endorsed both Republicans and Democrats this election cycle who have expressed support for their debt reduction plan.
More Than Double: Outside spending on Maine’s legislative races crossed the $3.4 million mark on Friday, with a weekend to go before the election. That’s well more than double the amount of record-setting outside spending from all of 2010: $1.5 million. The top race for third-party spending continued to be the Senate District 32 race between Republican Sen. Nichi Farnham and Democrat Geoffrey Gratwick. Outside groups had spent $439,000 on that race as of mid-afternoon Friday, according to the Maine Ethics Commission. For context, about 36,500 people live in a Maine Senate district, so that’s about $12 per Bangor and Hermon resident.
GOP Dream or Reality?: Is the electoral vote that belongs to Maine’s 2nd Congressional District really in play? Two polls released Friday show it could be competitive. Gravis Marketing on Friday released poll results that show President Barack Obama with a 3 percentage point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the 2nd District, 50-47 percent. Three percent of the poll respondents remain undecided. Another poll released Friday, from Public Policy Polling, showed Obama leading Romney 51-46 in the 2nd District. In late October, a pro-Romney political action committee purchased ads targeted at Maine’s 2nd District. Maine’s Electoral College vote distribution system would allow Romney to claim one vote if he wins the 2nd District, but loses the overall state vote. Gravis reported conducting an automated survey of 509 likely 2nd District voters on Thursday and Friday. The Florida-based firm reports the poll’s margin of error at plus or minus 4.3 percent. For complete poll results, visit www.gravispolls.com/2012/11/maine-cd2-poll-results.html#more. Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,633 likely voters statewide on Nov. 1 and 2. The margin of error for the survey was 2.4 percent.
Speaking of Poll Results: Friday’s Public Policy Polling results showed independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King leading Maine’s Senate race by 14 points. King pulled in 50 percent support to Republican Charlie Summers’ 36 percent and Democrat Cynthia Dill’s 12 percent. PPP also surveyed Maine voters on Question 1, the same-sex marriage referendum, and found voters 52-45 in support and 3 percent undecided. That’s similar to the 52-44 margin the firm found in September. In a tweet, PPP predicted a close vote on same-sex marriage, as voters who are undecided in polls tend to vote against same-sex marriage. Read the full poll results.