There could be as many as seven candidates for governor on the November ballot, after four independents qualified last week Â with two of the four handing in enough $5 donations to likely make them eligible for public financing of their campaigns.
Merrill is a former Democrat who turned independent on the first day of the legislative session this year, ultimately leaving Democrats with a one-vote lead in the House.
"We have a comfortable margin," said Merrill, who had handed in some checks before the deadline to get the verification process started.
Michael, a controversial figure, ran for governor as an independent in 2002. As a state representative, he was censored by the House for yelling at two women senators, and when he ran for governor he used a racial slur during a live radio interview. He did not qualify for public financing in 2002 and got 2 percent of the vote.
Note to Maine political reporters: consult your handy online dictionaries for the definitions of censor and censure. As long as Michael remains in the race, knowledge of the distinction will serve you well. Also, study Merrill's correct use of margin. Eschew using it as a synonym for ratio. And reserve using the word controversial for people who truly are. The results of the last election belie Michael's claim to controversy: Mainers have overwhelmingly made up their minds about him.
As I've said before, Barbara Merrill is still the candidate for whom I'm most likely to vote, if she's still in the race in November. I'm not too pleased with the prospect that I'll be voting for a candidate who is taking public money to finance her campaign; however, she does seem to be willing to put out the big ideas that Mainers need to debate.
I've no idea for whom I'll vote in next Tuesday's GOP primary; none of the candidates has any appeal for me. Dave Emery is most likely to win, due to name recognition. But if he doesn't do a better job of making his positions clear than he did at yesterday's debate, he won't stand a chance in the general election against John Baldacci, who is the uncontested king of obfuscation in Maine politics today. Baldacci had folks vote for him last time around because they actually believed he would lower their taxes.
Peter Mills has adroitly summed up the GOP primary:
"Something's got to happen," said Mills earlier Tuesday. "I'm afraid that people will start seeing us as three boring white guys over 50."
Candidate, the voters can't start doing something that they finished doing a long time ago.
Linking to: Third World County