Candidates failed to fire up primary voters

With voters as angry as wet cats, and the tea party rebellion reportedly sweeping the land, Maine's gubernatorial primary Tuesday seemed placid by national standards.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap was predicting a 20 percent turnout, which would be about typical for gubernatorial primaries, and he was seeing no reason to change his prediction as Election Day drew to a close.

Only a week before the election, polling found 47 percent of Republicans and 61.7 percent of Democrats still unsure who they would support for governor.

So, it's interesting to speculate why the run-up to Maine's election failed to generate much electoral energy.

Three possible reasons:

First, most of the national angst seems to be directed at President Barack Obama and Congress.

The Internet and airwaves are abuzz with hot-button issues: bank bailouts, stimulus spending, health care reform, immigration and the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Voters are mad all right, but not necessarily at Augusta or at statewide candidates.

Sure, many have a sense that all layers of government should be leaner and less expensive.

However, Mainers have just watched a bipartisan effort in the state Legislature cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget, while consolidating schools and eliminating state government jobs.

Second, there were simply so many candidates — seven Republicans and four Democrats — that it was difficult for voters to keep track of who was saying what.

What's more, they all seemed to be saying about the same thing: that they would create jobs and get Maine's economy moving.

Voters may feel as if politicians have been plucking that old chicken for the past quarter-century, and without significant result.

Despite pledges from a string of governors, well-paying manufacturing jobs continue to disappear.

As at least two Republican candidates pointed out, Maine only has a few more jobs today than it did 10 years ago, and even fewer well-paying heavy industry jobs.

Voters have been disappointed so many times, we wonder how many have given up on the notion that a governor can really improve their personal financial outlook.

Finally, the low turnout may simply reflect that the candidates were all reasonable people  and not inclined to do a lot of negative advertising.

Voters usually protest attack ads, but they do have a way of highlighting — some would say exaggerating — the differences among candidates.

Other than Bruce Poliquin's TV ad depicting Les Otten as a failed businessperson, the campaign seemed relatively free of tension.

The TV debates often found the candidates polite and even complimentary of each other.

Meanwhile, the Republicans seemed moderately conservative and the Democrats seemed moderately moderate.

All of the Republicans, meanwhile, seemed to politely distance themselves from the tea-party-inspired platform adopted during the state convention.

The distinctions among the candidates often seemed subtle and reasonable.

Those lines will be more distinctly drawn in November, particularly when the inter-party attack ads begin.

Perhaps then will Maine's voters be able to focus on selecting the next governor.

editorialboard@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Primary results!

I'm proud to sayI was a high school clasmate of Paul Lepage at LHS when it was located on Central Ave. his politics are far to the right of mine, but Iam still proudof him and the Maine voters who were savy enough not to let Le$ Otten buy the election!

 's picture

I understand why you're upset

she wishes to treat state employees humanely, you want to scare them. Have you laundered your white sheet yet?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Is it true the Klan members

Is it true the Klan members who were bed wetters were required to wear rubber sheets at meetings?

 's picture

"It all depends how you define Fairness"

,I cannot believe you're using the Bill Clinton defense. Your fellow teabaggers will be so disappointed.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Why do you continue to use

Why do you continue to use epithets in your posts? Teabaggers is a term that applies only to male homosexuals, by their own definition, by the way. So, how about it, T....knock it off. Show some civility. Your use of that term even pisses the parrot off, and he's one of your fans.

 's picture

Back in January of 2009,

when Graham Makohoniuk urge people to send teabags to their representative, they resulting group of protesters were affectionately referring to themselves as 'teabaggers', and it remained until some immature adolescents remembered that a certain sex act perform by heterosexuals, and probably homosexuals also, was called teabagging. Embarrassed, they have tried to distance themselves from the moniker ever since. It won't succeed, since they used it first. Now do I have video proving they used it? Of course not, since all archives of the early teabaggers are in the safe possession of FOX News?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The parrot sez you made up

The parrot sez you made up the name Makohoniuk. He knows because, (a) He's a liberal, and (b) It's the name of a rash he has on the inside of his beak. So, there; smarty...

 's picture

I NEVER said Makokoniuk

coined the term, I wish you loons would learn to read.

 's picture

I gave you the truth,

if you can handle the truth, that isn't my problem. Now go play with booby. Leave this forum to the adults.

 's picture

Jason, are you just stupid, or

do you work at being stupid? I told you how the term came to be applied to the teabaggers, now you either accept the truth, OR shut up. You're not making any sense, just like your boyfriend.

 's picture

You never win any points,

you just keep repeating the same nonsense until people get fed up arguing with an ass. So go ahead, get the last word, you need to have that, and go play.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Gotcha...Parrot sez

Gotcha...Parrot sez SQUAWWWK!! back at ya.

 's picture

Teabaggers was the term first used by tea party activists

themselves. It is appropiate and is not an epithets unless you have your mind in the gutter.

 's picture

that's a good one, as if

you actually know anybody that would ever be rational enough to vote no. No matter, we'll see what you right wing wackos come up with for tax fairness, although I'm not going to hold my breath.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Some were hoping you would.

Some were hoping you would.

 's picture

Hey keep up sandra2

I predicted question one AND I predicted why and how it was done. One of the most underhanded sleazy campaigns ever, and I feel that's a prelude of what's to come. But like I said, the choices will be clear.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

You must be referring to the

You must be referring to the wording of the question. Where was the democrat opposition to how the question was worded? They're in power, aren't they?

 's picture

I absolutely love the election results

it gives Maine a clear choice, stone age or space age. We will see which one the voters want.

 's picture

Never said I'd move, however when lepage loses

I'll recommend a moving company, for you and booby.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

We're IN the space age,

We're IN the space age, T...How's that working for ya?

 's picture

yeah, but if lepage

get's elected we'll return to the stone age. People might like it for a while, but wait until they need to go to the bathroom.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

To be totally honest, LePage

To be totally honest, LePage would not have been my choice. Far from it...No, and Libbie isn't either.

 's picture

What will be interesting is that

LePage will embrace the republican platform, meaning the voters will know exactly how far back into the stone age the state will go, if he's elected. Mainers may want that, we shall see.

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