Same split the vote strategy in Maine governor’s race takes a toking turn in North Carolina

In Maine, we’ve seen the Republican party and its supporters praising and otherwise assisting Eliot Cutler in an attempt to split the anybody-but-LePage vote.

Gov. LePage promoted Cutler’s candidacy just yesterday, claiming he’s the stronger opponent than Michaud. In reality, Michaud is just ahead of LePage in the polling average, with Cutler twenty-five percentage points behind Michaud.

Campaign literature was distributed in Portland saying nice things about Cutler and LePage, with negative messages about Michaud. You can see the flyers yourself at this link.

There are any number of Republican pundits saying positive things about Cutler while criticizing Michaud. To take just one recent example, Jim Fossel said Democrats made a mistake in picking Michaud and offered that Cutler would have been better. Yes, about ten days before the election a Republican columnist devoted his space to promoting the third place candidate.

Those are just three of many examples of a rather transparent strategy by strategists and supporters of Gov. LePage.

Image from ad paid for by Koch brothers funded organization on behalf of North Carolina's Libertarian Senate candidate, who is far back in third place

Image from ad paid for by Koch brothers funded organization on behalf of North Carolina’s Libertarian Senate candidate, who is far back in third place

Meanwhile, the same sort of split the vote strategy in North Carolina has taken a toking turn

Incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan has been narrowly leading her Republican opponent Thomas Tillis.

There is another candidate in the race, Sean Haugh, who is way back.

So in North Carolina, a group funded by the Koch brothers is supporting Mr. Haugh by running ads for him to appeal to voters who would be far more likely to vote for Democrat Hagan over Republican Tillis.

As NPR explains:

A quarter-million dollars in online ads is now supporting a third-party Senate challenger — Libertarian candidate and pizza delivery guy Sean Haugh. The ads are coming from an unlikely source: the American Future Fund, a secret-donor political group backed by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers.

The spots are aimed at young voters who typically support Democrats. One features a 20-something who criticizes Hagan for opposing legalization and supporting President Obama’s war efforts in Afghanistan.

“Vote Sean Haugh,” she says. “He shares our progressive values. Pro-legalization, pro-environment. More weed, less war.”

There are ten different ads and candidate Haugh says, “These ads came as a complete surprise to me.”

Here’s one of the North Carolina ads for Haugh, which are part of a strategy that could split the vote so that the far right Republican candidate wins.

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Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.