A screenshot of Bill Green in a new ad promoting the reelection of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

After a 47-year career that made him one of the most familiar faces on Maine television, retired newsman Bill Green can still pull off a surprise.

As a News Center Maine reporter, Green said Monday, “I tried to be as fair and balanced as I could,” always seeking both sides of every story.

Now, though, freed from journalistic constraints, Green recently told U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican seeking her fifth term, that he’d like to help her win.

Before long, he was cutting television ads to boost Collins in her four-way race against Democrat Sara Gideon and independents Max Linn and Lisa Savage. Polls are showing Gideon with a small lead in one of the country’s most-watched contests.

Green, a registered Democrat whose sister is close to Collins, said he’s smack in the political center, favoring Joe Biden for president for the same reasons he would like to see Collins returned to the Senate.

“I’m in the middle. I think I’m just an average man,” Green said. He said he doesn’t like extremists on either side, including President Donald Trump, whose “behavior is unacceptable.”

The first 30-second ad featuring Green is slated to begin airing Tuesday. There are at least two more that may follow.

In the ad, Green is wearing a maroon fleece L.L.Bean jacket as he walks through the woods, a disgusted look on his face. Then he asks, “Did you know that Susan Collins hates dogs?”

“That’s kind of what I’m expecting to hear next from a ridiculous smear campaign,” Green said. “You’re seeing more than $40 million in false attacks against Susan Collins by out-of-staters who don’t give a darn about Maine, and it’s shameful.”

An image from a political ad of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins walking along with retired newsman Bill Green.

In September, 63% of the nearly 18,000 commercials run by Gideon and Collins to influence the Maine Senate race had a negative tone, the highest rate in the nation, the Wesleyan Media Project found. It said half of Gideon’s ads were negative while a bit more than a third of Collins’ were.

“Susan’s been unfairly beaten up,” Green said. “She is a decent, honorable, kind, bright individual” whom he’s known since she ran for governor in 1994.

Green said he has nothing against Gideon, whom he considers a bit too far left, but wasn’t thrilled with her wardrobe choice in one of her early ads, when she wore a Patagonia jacket.

“A Maine politician needs an L.L.Bean parka and New Balance sneakers,” said Green, best known for his stories about Maine’s outdoors.

He said that given that he’s always kept his politics close to his vest, he is curious what people will say to him now.

At News Center Maine, Green has served as a reporter, anchor and executive producer, specializing in telling stories about Maine’s outdoors. He retired last year. He said he’s still writing some columns and is busy with other projects as well.


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