LEWISTON – With just over a month until Election Day, candidates for Maine’s Legislature are gearing up for the final push to Nov. 4.

Earlier this week, both privately financed and Maine Clean Election candidates filed campaign spending reports with the Maine Ethics Commission. The reports revealed local legislators employing some creative and bold strategies.

State Rep. Michael Beaulieu, R-Auburn, who is running for re-election in House District 68 against Democratic candidate Brad Knowles of Auburn, spent more than $1,000 at Geiger on campaign pill boxes to hand out to voters.

“Everybody loves them,” said Paula Beaulieu, Michael’s wife, who takes credit for the idea. “He did the magnets last time and everybody already has pens and calendars,” she said. “People are very receptive to (the pill boxes), so that’s good.”

Democratic candidate Matt Peterson of Rumford, who is running for the House District 92 seat abandoned by Rep. John Patrick, is stretching his Clean Election funding by recycling campaign signs. Peterson paid Patrick, who was forced to leave by the term limits law, about $80 for 21 wooden signs on Sept. 16, according to his filed report.

“(Patrick) is a sign machine,” Peterson said. “He’s famous for having incredible signs all over the place. He’s been very good about recycling them throughout the years.”

Peterson said Patrick asked him to run for the Legislature and has been mentoring him.

“He’s helped me in all dimensions of the campaign, right down to the signage,” Peterson said. Peterson’s opponent is Republican candidate Robert Cameron of Rumford.

But some candidates, instead of finding creative ways to spend money, aren’t spending any at all.

State Rep. Mike Carey, D-Lewiston, running for re-election to House District 72 as a privately-financed candidate, has neither raised nor spent money for his campaign, so far. His opponent, Republican candidate James Siglow, is running as an exempt candidate, which means he pledged at the beginning of his candidacy not to raise and spend money.

Sandra Thompson, a candidate registrar with the state, said often times “exempt” candidates are running in name only.

For his part, Carey said he’s “absolutely in the race to win.”

House District 96 incumbent Rep. Larry Sirois, D-Turner, is running as a Clean Election candidate, but like Carey has also spent no money, so far. Thompson said unused Clean Election funds return to the state after the election.

Sirois’ opponent, Republican candidate Joan Bryant-Deschenes of Turner, has spent more than $2,000 in Clean Election money on her campaign.

Thompson also confirmed that a pair of Lewiston House candidates are now running unopposed.

State Rep. Dick Wagner, D-Lewiston, running for re-election in District 73, was supposed to face Republican candidate Jonathon Browher, a Bates College senior. But Browher officially withdrew from the race on Sept. 4 and will not appear on the ballot, Thompson said.

Democratic candidate Mike Lajoie of Lewiston, running for House District 71, is also now unopposed. His former opponent was Republican John Babine of Lewiston.

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