By John Celock
The Republican Governors Association is wading into the competitive three-way Maine gubernatorial race with a new ad praising the Republican incumbent’s “brutally honest” style.
In an ad posted Tuesday morning, the RGA highlights several Maine residents and Gov. Paul LePage (R), talking about LePage’s accomplishments and not being a politician. LePage, who is a top target for Democrats due to his controversial behavior in office, faces a three-way race against Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and independent Eliot Cutler.
“I am not a smooth talking politician,” LePage said in the ad.
Those in the ad describe LePage as “blunt,” “brutally honest,” “a real person” and “one of a kind. The ad stresses LePage accomplishments including the governor signing legislation to ban sex trafficking in Maine, tax cuts, Turnpike Authority reform and the end of taxes on meals in retirement homes.
LePage has remained controversial during his four year tenure including for a statement where he joked about bombing a local newspaper while visiting a military flight simulator, telling the NAACP to “kiss my butt” following complaints over not attending a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event and a meeting with a group that had threatened to hang top Democratic lawmakers. LePage has staked a position as one of the nation’s most conservative governors in the last four years.
The Maine race is a top priority for Democrats and progressive groups who see LePage as vulnerable following his narrow 2010 win in a multi-candidate race. Democrats have targeted Cutler, who ran in 2010, believing he could play a spoiler role to reelect LePage.
The RGA has also made LePage’s reelection a priority. RGA Chairman New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to visit Maine Tuesday to campaign alongside LePage. The New Jersey Democratic State Committee criticized Christie’s trip with a tweet Tuesday, citing LePage’s meeting with the group that had threatened the Democratic state lawmakers.