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!

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?

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.

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...

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Gotcha...Parrot sez

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

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Some were hoping you would.

Some were hoping you would.

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?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

We're IN the space age,

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

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.

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