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Political Brew: The presidential and senate races in Maine

NEWS CENTER Maine political analysts discuss Mayor Pete Buttigieg's Portland rally and the race for Sen. Collins' seat with Pat Callaghan


Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg held a rally and fundraiser in Portland this past week, becoming the first 2020 candidate to make a stop in Maine. The mayor of South Bend, Indiana spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at the State Theater.

Former Speaker of the House John Richardson says he thinks the man known as "Mayor Pete" is "a young version of what the Democrats have been looking for." And he thinks Buttigieg has a strong message to deliver about no political party having a monopoly on traditional values.

Republican analyst Phil Harriman thinks Buttigieg brings some strengths to the table. Says Harriman, "I'm not seeing him as the nominee for the Democrats, but certainly he's building an opportunity for the future."

On the same day as the Buttigieg rally, some of Maine's top Republicans met with reporters to urge support for President Trump's re-election based on what he's done for the economy. Former Gov. Paul LePage, former Congressman Bruce Poliquin and 2016 GOP nominee for governor Shawn Moody all warned about the dangers of electing one of the Democratic candidates.

Harriman says he isn't sure how many people are paying attention to such an endorsement right now, but he adds that "If you just focus on the economics of President Trump it's hard to dispute the fact that the economy has grown significantly under his leadership."

But Richardson thinks the timing of the endorsement wasn't optimal, given the upheaval in the stock market because of President Trump's trade war and fears of a recession.

Our analysts also talk about a so-called "dark money" ad against Sen. Susan Collins that was debunked by a Washington Post reporter.
But does such an ad have an impact on voters even after it's proven false?

Phil Harriman calls it the "dark side of campaigns these days."

John Richardson thinks the impact right now is low. And he says these types of ads can backfire. "Maine people are pretty darn smart. They will hold accountable that candidate they believe is responsible for false advertising."

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.