AUGUSTA, Maine — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will head to Maine for the fourth time this election season on Tuesday evening for campaign appearances with incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a potential 2016 presidential candidate, will stump with LePage at a car dealership and at a campaign fundraiser, both in Bangor. The brief Maine stop will cap Christie’s day of campaigning for GOP gubernatorial candidates after earlier stump sessions in Maryland and Rhode Island.
With just a week left until Election Day, LePage and his chief opponent — Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud — are looking to energize their respective supporters in a tight contest that may hinge on which candidate has the best get-out-the-vote effort.
Michaud, who co-headlined a rally with Hillary Clinton last week in Scarborough, is hoping to gain a final boost from a visit from President Barack Obama, who will appear with the Democratic candidate at a Portland rally on Thursday.
Polls indicate LePage and Michaud in a dead heat, with independent candidate Eliot Cutler lagging far behind.
Christie brings to Maine not only the strength of the Republican Governors Association — which, at $4.25 million, has dumped more cash into the state than any other third party group in this year’s election — but the media spotlight that follows him wherever he goes.
The New Jersey governor refers to LePage as “a friend,” and he has come to Maine three times since this summer, first in Portland, then in Bangor and Lewiston. Each time, he and the governor made brief public appearances for the media before heading behind closed doors to fundraise for LePage and the GOP.
It is much the same story this time. The pair will visit Quirk Auto Park for some retail politics before heading to Bangor Banquet and Conference Center for a LePage fundraiser. However, unlike previous Christie visits, the LePage campaign has invited the media to attend the fundraiser to hear initial remarks by the governors, after which reporters and visual journalists will be escorted out of the banquet hall.
An earlier news release from the Republican Governors Association indicated that the Bangor Banquet and Conference Center event would be a campaign rally, but the LePage campaign has said it is a fundraiser for paid attendees.
Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.