The Republican Governor’s Association, a tax-exempt political group that boosts GOP candidates throughout the nation, has committed to buying nearly $1.3 million in television ad time in Maine, according to public disclosure documents at the Federal Elections Commission.
The purchases span from mid August up to Election Day, securing access to the airwaves for a group that has committed to spend big this year to help Gov. Paul LePage win re-election.
The biggest buy on a single station was for WCSH in Portland, at $515,755, followed by $304,241 worth of airtime purchased from WMTW in Portland and $250,990 from WLBZ in Bangor. Stations WFVX and WVII in Bangor received $19,350 and $87,420 from the group, respectively.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who chairs the RGA, has already visted Maine twice to help drum up campaign donations for the state GOP and LePage’s campaign. During his most recent visit to an aviation company in Bangor, Christie said his group was ready to spend what they needed to spend to help LePage prevail.
“Millions of dollars will be spent here by the RGA by the time we’re done,” Christie said Aug. 12. “Exactly how many million, we’ll see.”
So far, the two advertisements produced by the RGA have attempted to recast LePage’s record of making controversial, sometimes crude statements as a positive, spinning his verbal style as a hallmark of authenticity.
The first advertisement, released Aug. 12, shows LePage supports describing LePage as “blunt,” a “real person,” and “brutally honest.”
The second advertisement pushes the narrative further, contrasting LePage with charactitures of politicians who are “blow-dried,” cookie-cutter, or always ready with the perfect sound bite.
How the political group choses to use the remaining air time, and how many other messaging spots they will use is unclear, as the RGA declined to comment Wednesday on its advertising strategy or future plans.