AUGUSTA, Maine — The battle among the independent candidates hoping to become Maine’s next governor is beginning to take shape even as Republican and Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls race toward their respective primaries just two weeks away.
On Friday, Andover resident Kevin Scott submitted more than 4,500 valid petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office, thereby qualifying him to appear on the November ballot as an unenrolled candidate for governor.
Scott joins two other unenrolled or independent candidates who already have met the threshold: Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth and Shawn Moody of Gorham.
Seven other unenrolled candidates have filed paperwork with the campaign finance division of the Maine Ethics Commission. They are Daniel Albert of Gardiner, Samme Bailey of Gorham, Beverly Cooper-Pete of Portland, Augustus Edgerton of Bangor, Alex Hammer of Bangor, J. Martin Vachon of Mariaville and John Whit-comb of Sidney.
In order to qualify, those candidates have until 5 p.m. today to submit at least 4,000 signatures from registered voters to municipal clerks for certification. The deadline to file the accepted signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office is June 1.
Unenrolled gubernatorial candidates do not have to compete in a primary election, unlike the 11 Democratic and Republican candidates hoping to win their parties’ respective nominations on June 8.
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap said his office would have a better idea after today about whether any of the seven additional unenrolled gubernatorial candidates will likely qualify for the ballot.
“But I haven’t heard about anyone else,” Dunlap said Monday afternoon.
Scott, who runs a recruiting company for engineers and computer-aided designers for high-tech firms, said Monday that he hopes his campaign as the “everyman” candidate will help him compete against better-known and well-financed opponents.
“I want to level the playing field,” Scott said Monday.
The best-financed and most prominent independent is Cutler, who was President Jimmy Carter’s principal energy adviser from 1977 to 1980 and later founded a law firm specializing in environmental and land use matters.
As the June 8 primary draws closer, most of the attention will be drawn back to the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial races. Television viewers can expect an onslaught of political ads as the candidates — four Democrats and seven Republicans — attempt to distinguish themselves in the final, critical weeks.
Democrat Rosa Scarcelli began airing a French-language radio spot this week to appeal to Franco-American voters. Democrat Steve Rowe launched a new TV ad on Monday that attempts to inject a little humor into his campaign.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.