The MaineForward PAC, a political action committee supported by labor unions, teachers and progressive activist groups, announced this week that it plans to reserve upwards of $2 million worth of ad time on local cable and broadcast TV stations this fall in support of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, the Democratic candidate for governor.
Michaud is locked in a tight three-way race with Republican Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler -- both of whom also stand to benefit from outside spending.
However, Michaud appears to be best positioned to benefit from outside spending. He's getting support from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s Together PAC, which is largely funded by labor unions; the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a national group advocating for “out” candidates that has already bundled up to $50,000; and Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, which recently launched a $50,000 online ad campaign.
Cutler has promised not to accept contributions from PACs, but the Campaign for Maine has already spent $125,000 on TV ads in support of his candidacy. The Campaign for Maine had about $33,5000 on hand, according to the pre-primary report filed in May.
LePage. meanwhile, will likely get support from the Republican Governors' Association. The RGA Maine PAC currently has $184,600 on hand, according to the pre-primary report filed in May.
My colleague Mike Shepherd, a reporter for the Kennebec Journal, wrote about Maine Forward PAC back in April when it was formed.
The PAC is getting its support from The Maine Education Association, the Maine AFL-CIO, the Maine State Employees Association, the Maine People’s Alliance and the Democratic Governors Association.
According to the most recent campaign finance filings, Maine Forward has already raised $281,000, of which it has spent $106,000. On Monday, the PAC launched its website and introductory video, which can be viewed below.
The 1:40 video picks up on Michaud's campaign theme of restoring Maine's national reputation, which he says has suffered because of Gov. LePage. Its shows long-time and life-long Mainers -- teachers, mothers students, working Mainers -- touting Michaud's working-class roots and his policies that would protect Maine jobs and expand healthcare -- an expansion LePage has vetoed five time. It also touts the list of endorsements Michaud has racked up -- from NARAL Prochoice America and Human Rights Campaign, to EqualityMaine and labor groups.
"I want to be proud to say I'm from here again," says one man.
Sean Sinclair, a consultant working with the PAC, said the TV ads will be running right after Labor Day. "The other components of the campaign are not public yet, but it will be comprehensive," Sinclair said in an email.
So far, the DGA has contributed the most money to Maine Forward -- roughly $165,000. The American Federation for State, County, and Municipal Employees contributed $50,000 and the Maine Conservation Voters Action Fund donated $50,000.