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Cutler Makes 2nd Attempt to Win Blaine House Official
09/24/2013   Reported By: Mal Leary

Three years ago, Independent Eliot Cutler lost the race for Governor in Maine to Paul LePage by a little over 10,000 votes. Cutler today made official his intent to run again for the Blaine House. In campaign events in Bangor and Portland he formally launched his 2014 campaign, using the events to take swipes at both LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud.

Eliot Cutler at Campaign Announcement Event in Bangor

Cutler said his campaign message in the coming months will sound a lot like that of 2010. He said that is because little has changed and Maine’s economy continues to languish because of partisan politics. Republican Governor Paul LePage, he said, has not delivered on his promises of economic growth.

“And what he is trying to do is not all wrong," he said. "But, he gets in his own way when he is right and he gets in our way when he isn’t. Instead of a Governor that who is a salesman for Maine around the world, we have a Governor who has left Maine red-faced and embarrassed all around the world.”

Cutler said Congressman Mike Michaud is A partisan Democrat and is not likely to provide the leadership needed to craft new policies to grow the state’s economy.

“My democratic party opponent is a very decent man," he said. "I like Mike too, but he is a product of 30 years in Augusta and Washington and that is not what we need today. His party’s policies didn’t work before and they won’t move Maine forward now.”

Cutler said his book, which he released last week, lays out a plan for investing in Maine to grow the economy and create new jobs.

“I think Maine needs a plan," he said. "I think we need a strategy to move us forward. We have been stuck for ten years. Have circumstances changed a lot in Maine, since 2010, I’m afraid they haven’t. And that’s why a lot you are going to hear from me, you have heard before.”

That plays well with supporters including Sarah Newcomb of Orono.

“And I have been impressed at how much he really listens to and cares and knows about the economy in Maine and the people of Maine,” said Newcomb.

For Jeremy Maheu of Waterville it's his dissatisfaction with the two major parties that fuels his support for Cutler.

“The two party politics, not a big supporter of that… I support the independents, just like me,” said Maheu.

Both major parties were quick to release statements critical of Cutler. Jim Melcher, a political science professor at the University of Maine at Farmington said the 2014 campaign will not be the same as the 2010. LePage, Melcher points out, is an incumbent with a record. And Michaud also has a record as a member of Congress and in the legislature. Melcher said he expects a hard-fought campaign.

Eliot Cutler at Campaign Announcement Event in Portland“I think 2014 may well be a very different sort of year than 2010 was," said Melcher. "There was a lot of tea party energy in 2010 there is still some of that around, still some of that backing LePage. But, I think there is less of that kind of surge than there may have been four years ago. But, I think there is a scenario where any of those three men can win the election.”

Michaud formally announced his candidacy earlier this month and LePage is expected to make his re-election campaign announcement next month.

Photos by Mal Leary and Nick Woodward.

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