State Sen. Patrick Flood, a Republican from Augusta, announced Wednesday that he has endorsed Independent candidate Eliot Cutler in this year's governor's race.
Flood, widely respected in the State House for his quiet demeanor, knowledge of state budgets and willingness to work toward compromise, has not always agreed with Gov. Paul LePage, his party's candidate. Whether his decision to publicly endorse Cutler holds any sway with other moderate Republicans is unclear.
"I admire Eliot's passion for bringing people together to set direction, solve programs and achieve our state's potential," Flood said in a statement. "It is clear to me that he has the management skills, the experience, the vision, the judgment and the character to lead our state as governor."
Flood, who is retired, announced earlier this year that he would not seek reelection, a fact that might have made his endorsement of Cutler a little easier. Flood is completing his first term in the Maine Senate, but that was preceded by four terms in the Maine House, including one term as House chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
Cutler called Flood one of the most thoughtful and influential members of the Maine legislature.
"I'm honored to have Pat's support," Cutler said. "It is going to take all of us - Republicans, Democrats and Independents - to turn this state around."
Cutler has not gotten many endorsements this election cycle, but he often touts his ability to appeal to centrists from both parties. Terry Hayes, a former Democratic legislative leader, has backed Cutler this campaign and appeared at a rally earlier this year with many other prominent woman in support of the independent.
David Sorensen, spokesman for the Maine Republican Party, declined to comment on Flood's endorsement of Cutler.
Brent Littlefield, senior adviser to the LePage campaign, said he doesn't think Flood's endorsement carries much weight. He said Flood and LePage simply had a different style of governing.
"When the governor sees a problem, he wants to solve it," Littlefield said.