Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler on Tuesday released his first campaign advertisement.
The ad, expected to air this week, is titled “Jobs & the Economy.” It highlights a recent successful business endeavor Cutler embarked on after his first unsuccessful bid for governor in 2010.
“When I ran four years ago, I brought Chinese business leaders to Maine. I hoped as governor I could open new markets for Maine products. Well, that campaign didn’t work out so I decided to follow through myself,” Cutler says in the spot. “I started a company with four other guys and I negotiated a deal with a huge Chinese food distributor. In the last two years, this company sold over five million pounds of Maine lobster to China.”
Cutler has since sold his stake in that company, Maine Seafood Ventures.
The ad is clearly meant to highlight Cutler’s business acumen. Many know him as a longtime lawyer and government employee under Sen. Edmund Muskie and Pres. Jimmy Carter, but Cutler has helped start and manage eight businesses throughout his career.
“We need a governor who knows how to create jobs and open new doors to Maine products, so our kids can find jobs here,” Cutler said. “That’s why I’m running again.”
During his endorsement of Cutler on Monday, U.S. Sen. Angus King, a former two-term governor, highlighted Cutler’s success in the private sector. King also took aim at some of Cutler’s critics, who have hit him for working in China during a stretch last decade.
“In the last campaign, believe it or not, he was criticized for his experience working abroad,” King said. “That should be something we should celebrate and embrace because that’s where our future is — in exports and working with the rest of the world.”
The Cutler campaign hopes the King endorsement and the recent ad buy gives the independent candidate a boost, both in polling and fundraising.
Cutler has been running a distant third to incumbent Gov. Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud and has given his campaign nearly $1 million from his own pockets in order to stay competitive.