Independent Cutler eyes new run for governor

Kevin Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Eliot Cutler speaks to a full house of Bangor Chamber of Commerce members at the Morgan Hill Event center in Hermon on Tuesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent Eliot Cutler has taken the first step toward running for governor next year.

Cutler on Thursday filed paperwork with the Maine Ethics Commission to form a campaign committee, a move that will allow him to begin raising money for a possible Blaine House bid.

Cutler lost to Republican Gov. Paul LePage by fewer than 10,000 votes in 2010, placing second in a race that also included Democrat Libby Mitchell. Since 2010, Cutler has remained in the public eye, maintaining a high profile through a state-level political action committee, participation in Angus King’s campaign for U.S. Senate, and involvement in an ultimately unsuccessful national campaign to nominate a third-party, centrist candidate for president.

Cutler plans to travel across Maine in the coming months as he considers whether to launch a 2014 Blaine House bid, said Ted O’Meara, who managed Cutler’s 2010 campaign.

“That’s going to incur some expenses,” he said. “You’ve got to have a means of capturing that and accounting for that. That’s why the filing was done.”

A formal announcement would come later this year, potentially in the late summer or early fall, O’Meara said.

Cutler, a lawyer who lives in Cape Elizabeth, is the second person to form a gubernatorial campaign committee for the 2014 race. While LePage hasn’t announced whether he’s running for re-election, he’s formed a campaign committee and raised about $220,000.

“The governor is focused right now on continuing his success in lowering the unemployment rate and continuing his efforts to pay Maine’s hospital debt to fix Maine’s budget,” said Brent Littlefield, a political adviser to LePage. “There’s a process in place for candidates to get on the ballot. There’s a petition process, and that all takes place next year.”

The formation of Cutler’s committee comes two days after a national polling firm released a survey showing LePage could win re-election if the 2014 gubernatorial race becomes a three-way matchup featuring LePage, Cutler and a Democrat. Cutler would place second in three of the five scenarios the pollster, Public Policy Polling of North Carolina, tested. He would trail U.S. Reps. Mike Michaud or Chellie Pingree if either of them decided to run, according to the poll.

Public Policy Polling found Cutler would lead LePage in a head-to-head contest 49-41. But Michaud, Pingree and former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci would beat LePage by wider margins, according to the pollster. Baldacci has said he would consider a gubernatorial bid next year if Michaud and Pingree decide not to run.

Cutler “doesn’t have a viable pathway to win the race, whereas a Democratic candidate will have a pathway to win, especially if it’s one of our top-tier candidates,” said Maine Democratic Party chairman Ben Grant.

O’Meara said it’s too early to take any poll assessing next year’s gubernatorial race too seriously.

“I think there is a real danger in reading too much into any of them and letting people draw conclusions in January 2013 that this is what the field will look like,” he said. “All of that stuff is way too early.”

Cutler, a Bangor native, worked for the late Sen. Edmund Muskie as counsel to a Senate Subcommittee on the Environment before joining the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Jimmy Carter. Before launching his 2010 campaign, Cutler ran the Beijing office of the Washington, D.C., law firm Akin Gump.

After his 2010 run, Cutler formed OneMaine, a state-level political action committee that supported a handful of Democratic, Republican and independent legislative candidates during the 2012 campaign season. He also signed on as a state chairman of King’s Senate campaign last year and served on the board of Americans Elect, a nonprofit organization that tried to launch a third-party presidential campaign in 2012 but was unsuccessful.

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Comments

FRANK EARLEY's picture

Plese don't do it......

Please don't run. If there's a three way race LePage might win. Then I'll be forced to do the honorable thing and walk into the sea.

Jason Theriault's picture

Still a ways off.

If Culter comes out strong, the democrats may just back off, instead of repeating 2010.

And all Cutler has to do is run "A vote for is a vote for LePage".

The only candidate that surpassed Cutler is Baldacci,

JOANNE MOORE's picture

Cutler - blech, gag, groan.

As much as I can't stand Paulie and his attitude problems, I would rather him for another 4 than be governed by one of the one percenter elitists.

Rather the devil we know..............

JOHN PAINTER's picture

Cutler filed

In looking at the clean elections web site Cutler has, along with LePage, filed for 2014.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

I meant the Maine Commission

I meant the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices website shows both Cutler and Lepage have filed.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Governor Lepage has his

Governor Lepage has his faults, primarily that he is not a good communicator or negotiator, but at least he is trying to set our fiscal ship on a sustainable path. Career political hacks like Michaud, Pingree, Baldacci, and Cutler the bureaucrat do nothing but pay lip service to us cerfs, while smoothly screwing us over .Here we go again with the same old tired crapola.

Jason Theriault's picture

He certainly does

His faults outweight his value.

Frank Margel's picture

Talk Radio Superstars!

I have been listening to both of these career politicians (Cutler and Baldacci) for months on Local talk radio shows. This morning the former Govenor admitted that he and Elliot are polled as losers in the future race. The flip flopping interview suggests that the liberals are more interested in in-fighting rather than supporting the current Govenor and all the people of Maine.

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