Tuesday | June 25, 2002
Maine Senate race tightening
The National Journal's Charlie Cook reports this week that the Maine senate race is tightening up. While Republicans claim that Sen. Collins is safely ahead, Dem candidate Pingree's own polling shows her closing ground, down 45-33. That is far better than the 56-20 numbers polled in March.
Pingree is focusing her campaign on popular health care issues, especially the outrageous drug costs in the US (especially in comparison to drug costs in neighboring Canada). And the state has traditionally been hostile ground to the GOP (Gore and Nader collectively beat Bush by 11 percentage points in 2000). Thus, election observers definitely expect the race to tighten considerably in the coming months, especially as Pingree's name recognition increases.
The GOP claims their internal polls show Collins safely ahead, and question the veracity of the Dems poll. However, unlike Pingree's camp, the GOP has refused to release their latest internal poll to the press. That is always suspicious. Campaigns will happily share their polling data with the press if it shows their candidate in a favorable light.
Even Karl Rove expects the Maine race to be a battle. In his famously exposed PowerPoint presentation, Rove lists Maine's Senate seat as a "possible D pickup".
Collins shouldn't be underestimated. A true example of the endangered New England moderate Republican, she is actually to the left of nominal Democrats like Zel Miller of GA. Thus, she can avoid much of the hostility Maine voters might harbor against the national GOP.
Yet the health care issues resonate in Maine, and if Pingree can tie Collins to the GOP/Drug Co. love embrace, it should be an interesting race indeed.Posted June 25, 2002 10:24 AM | Comments (1)