BANGOR — Independent candidate Eliot Cutler returned to his hometown to announce that he is again running for governor in 2014.
“I am running because we need to move Maine forward, and the best way forward is neither left nor right, but straight ahead,” Cutler said Tuesday morning at the Cross Insurance Center, surrounded by family and supporters. “I ask you to join me on an independent path, one that starts with a clear vision of Maine’s future and a real plan — a real plan — for growth and opportunity.”
Cutler also ran for governor as an independent in the 2010 gubernatorial race, finishing second to Republican Paul LePage with 35.9 percent of the vote compared with LePage’s 37.6 percent.
Stopping the brain drain and keeping educated young people, such as City Councilor Ben Sprague who announced him, in Maine and attracting others to the state are keys to a successful future, Cutler said.
He said he outlined his plans for education, government, health care, the economy and election reform in a book he released last week, “A State of Opportunity: A Plan to Build a Healthier, Smarter, Stronger, Younger and More Prosperous Maine,” that is also posted on his website,cutlerformaine.com.
“You can download it from the website and it’s free,” Cutler said of his plan.
Cutler is running against LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud, who is currently a U.S. representative for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Campaign workers and supporters of LePage and Michaud were quick to respond to Cutler officially entering the race.
Cutler’s “book, and his campaign offer the same glossed-over liberal ideas that failed Maine for decades,” said Brent Littlefield, a political adviser and LePage 2014 consultant.
“We believe — and the polls confirm — that Congressman Michaud is the strongest candidate in the governor’s race and the clear alternative to Governor LePage,” Lizzy Reinholt, spokeswoman for Michaud said Tuesday. “He has the vision, experience, and commitment to get the state back on track and his bipartisan, middle class record ensures that working families will have a voice in the Blaine House.”
Jason Savage, Maine Republican Party executive director, described Cutler as a “liberal Washington D.C. lawyer” and Michaud as “an obscure Congressman.”
“Voters can choose one of two liberal candidates with heavy ties to Washington D.C., or a successful businessman and governor with a proven track record of success,” Savage said.
Cutler said he respects the political skills of both his opponents, “but I do not believe that either has offered to Maine voters the kind of plan that Maine needs — and that voters deserve.”