Governor's race just heating up

(NEWS CENTER) -- With less than six months left until the gubernatorial election, the candidates are raising more money and detailing their agendas. Gov. Paul LePage recently said he thought Independent candidate Eliot Cutler was the one to beat, despite recent polls showing the race as a dead heat between Gov. LePage and Democratic candidate Mike Michaud.

Political analyst Phil Harriman said that Cutler was essentially in this same position during the last governor race and almost won.

"I think you're making a big mistake if you underestimate Eliot Cutler's viability," said Harriman.

Harriman also said he thinks some of Michaud's support might wane in southern Maine and transfer to Cutler. Ethan Strimling pointed out that Cutler and Michaud will be trading off votes. Gov. LePage has said he is happy Cutler is in the race.

"What Paul LePage wants is Cutler to get as strong as possible...the stronger the two of them are, the better chance LePage has of winning," said Strimling.

Strimling said the comment was purely political strategy to keep Cutler viable and strong. Cutler has been outspending the other candidates significantly, even though it is early in the campaign. Strimling said it doesn't make sense for him to be spending this much, especially since the numbers aren't showing much improvement.

"He's at 14 or 15 percent. Remember, six or eight months ago he was at mid-20s, some polls even had him at close to 30," said Strimling.

Harriman said Strimling underestimates Cutler, and that Cutler is building infrastructure and networks around the state for his campaign. Strimling countered that Cutler has overspent, only having $30,000 in the bank, while Gov. LePage and Michaud have $500,000 each. Harriman and Strimling both agreed the war hasn't really started between Gov. LePage and Michaud, and Harriman said he thinks that might cause some voters to support Cutler.


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