March 20, 2018
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Former Florida political gadfly courts Trump voters in bid to unseat Angus King

Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Ashley L. Conti | BDN
Donald Trump (right) talks with Gov. Paul LePage during a campaign rally at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, June 29, 2016.
By Michael Shepherd, BDN Staff

A former Florida gubernatorial candidate who has been a third-party candidate and Democrat told Maine Republicans on Saturday that, as a firm supporter of President Donald Trump, he wants their nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Angus King.

His name is Max Linn. He has long had a home in Bar Harbor, but he had a colorful and often controversial political history in Florida before registering to vote in Maine. It has been a strange road to his becoming an insurgent Republican candidate in Maine, though he hasn’t filed for the race yet.

Linn represented views all over the political spectrum during nearly two decades often on the periphery of Florida politics. A financial planner, he was the Reform Party’s 2006 gubernatorial candidate, but he won only 2 percent of votes.

Just before that, the St. Petersburg Times did a rundown of his political career to date. He ran for state Senate as a Republican in 1990, but the bid was marred by a sexual harassment allegation that he denied and was dropped. In 2002, he sold his planning business for a reported $4 million.

Three years later, he faced another sexual harassment allegation that he denied and was again dropped. During that 2006 campaign, he said he was pro-abortion rights but conservative on taxes and spending. Before the election, he landed a plane on a Florida highway.

After running another campaign as a Democrat, he moved to Maine full time. In 2008, he ran as a Democrat in a congressional primary, a race that was punctuated by an episode in which he announced that he was suspending his campaign to support Barack Obama’s presidential bid. But he rescinded that and lost the primary handily.

Bar Harbor records show that he has been registered to vote as a Republican there since 2011, though he told the Mount Desert Islander last January that he was spending his first winter on Mount Desert Island.

Now, he’s aligned firmly with Trump. Linn announced his Senate candidacy in a speech to the Maine Republican Party’s state committee on Saturday, saying he has supported Trump’s candidacy since September 2015.

He said Maine has seen the “devastating effects of open-border immigration” and that immigrants here illegally “need to go back home.”

Linn’s campaign manager is Matt McDonald, who has recently been involved with the pro-Trump website Maine First Media. On Tuesday, McDonald said Linn wasn’t available for an interview, but that his campaign will also focus on infrastructure, trade policy and a “strong military.”

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, is the only Republican running against King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, so far. McDonald said Linn is “in the process” of readying to file.

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