Peter Mills enters the race

Republican State Senator Peter Mills will run for Maine governor. Mills will run as a Republican, challenging Bruce Poliquin, Matt Jacobson, and Les Otten for the GOP nomination. I’ve been scooped on this story by just about everyone, including the Augusta Insider, Pine Tree Politics, and As Maine Goes.

The Augusta Insider reports that since Mills is choosing to run GOP he will not be able to turn Independent should he not receive his party’s nomination. Mills is the first GOP candidate to come from a political background, possibly making him a prime target in the primary. Mills is also the first GOP candidate to file for public funding.

Pine Tree Politics, who just yesterday pondered a Mills run, wrote on Mills announcement and his chances of winning the GOP primary and the Blaine House.

from Pine Tree Politics:

Mills’ greatest argument was that he was a socially tolerant, fiscally conservative candidate. I have long argued that this is exactly where Maine voters are ideologically – they don’t really want the government pushing social policy, and they really want some fiscal relief and sound management – and he could have filled that quite easily.

But with tax reform and now healthcare reform, Mills is blowing a hole in the idea that he is a fiscal conservative. Many Maine Republicans are left wondering if he is center-left on social issues, and now appears to be center-left on fiscal issues as well, why should he deserve the support of the grassroots?

Comments on the Mills announcement thread at As Maine Goes seems to support PTP’s argument.

I haven’t seen a website with a solid platform page, though Mills does have one from his previous senate run, so I wont go in depth on his run yet. I will say this, which I also posted as a comment on PTP – Maine Republicans are much closer to the middle than other states. A Republican in Maine is not necessarily the same as one in Utah. Maine GOPers seem to hold strong to the ideals laid down in the Goldwater era; low taxes, fiscal responsibility, and small government. When in comes to social issues I get the feeling that ME GOPers are more open than most, taking an almost libertarian approach of “stay out of my business and I’ll stay out of yours.

I think that could give Mills an edge. Even with his recent alignment with the left on gay marriage, health care, and tax reform, Mills record sits pretty squarely in a fiscal conservative social moderate hole. This could leave Mills sitting pretty when it comes to courting support from the moderate and blue dog Democrats in Maine.

Mills is not a lock in this dynamic election.

from Pine Tree Politics:

If any of the three business guys can become the consensus “fiscal conservative” choice, I think it will be a dog fight and they would have a rather big chance to knock off the big dog.

Personally, though, I think they’ll all split the vote, and Mills will be fighting for a small share himself. I see the 1994 eight way Republican nomination fight that Susan Collins won repeating itself.

Nothing is set in this election. Still anyone’s game, and what a game it’s shaping up to be. I guess I picked a good time to start writing on politics!

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