Both of the independent U.S. Senate candidates, Max Linn and Lisa Savage, offered a helping hand Friday to another potential contender in the race. 

Tiffany Bond and Max Linn Submitted photos

Linn, a Bar Harbor businessman, and Savage, a teacher from Solon, submitted affidavits in support of Portland lawyer Tiffany Bond’s request to a federal district court to lower statutory signature requirements and put her on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Bond gathered at least 2,700 signatures, she said, but could not reach the 4,000 required because of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic that made it difficult for her corps of volunteers to find people willing to sign and to have the paperwork notarized and reviewed by town clerks whose offices were sometimes closed. Bond argued the state should have made allowances for candidates who made good faith efforts to comply under the circumstances.

Taking note of Bond’s refusal to accept any campaign donations, Linn told the U.S. District Court that “having another candidate on the ballot that is not backed by big corporations or the multimillion-dollar war chests of the political parties will be an absolute benefit to Maine voters.”

The independent hopefuls are running against four-term U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and the winner of the Democratic primary on July 14. Three Democrats are vying for their party’s support, Bre Kidman of Saco, Sara Gideon of Freeport and Betsy Sweet of Hallowell.

Linn said there is “an absolute bias” against candidates who are not aligned with the GOP or the Democrats. They are, for instance, required to gather twice as many signatures to reach the ballot.


Lisa Savage

Savage said her campaign collected the signatures it needed on Super Tuesday, the presidential primary day at the beginning of March, just before the pandemic hit.

She said she is “thankful in the extreme that we made the difficult decision” to give up a difficult bid to secure signatures from Green Independent Party members and instead round up signatures for an independent run. Going for broke on Super Tuesday proved crucial, she said.

“Without that single-day signature collection effort, it is highly probable that the pandemic would have made signature gathering nearly impossible, even given the monthlong extension,” Savage said. “We have done no in-person events since Super Tuesday. I have seen Tiffany Bond at multiple public events, and participated in forums with her.”

She said Bond “is a serious candidate and I expected she would appear on the ballot. She should not be expected to be responsible for the pandemic, and the accommodations from Maine were not sufficient for candidates.”

“Tiffany Bond should be on the final ballot,” Savage said in her legal filing.

Bond said if she only needed the 2,000 signers that Collins and the Democrats rounded up, she would not have had to go to court.

In a ranked-choice voting election such as the Senate race, voters may be more inclined to vote for independents first since if their favored candidate falls short, their ballots are redistributed to their second choice candidate, a system that largely eliminates the “spoiler effect” that has traditionally held down tallies for third party and independent contenders.

It is unclear when the court might rule on Bond’s request for a ballot spot.

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