Maine State Senator Peter Mills

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Evans-Novak Political Report - Leaning Mills
Governor 2006

Maine: The Republican nomination to challenge Gov. John Baldacci (D) is a much-sought commodity this year because of the incumbent's fundamental weakness. Baldacci has recovered somewhat from earlier low approval ratings, but Maine's economy remains bad enough that ordinary Mainers, certainly not of a natural Republican persuasion, are deeply upset. Skyrocketing property tax assessments here are forcing many longtime residents to sell their homes to out-of-state vacationers. As a result, many of the state's lobstermen and fishermen can no longer live near the water.

Meanwhile, the state's fiscal situation is persistently bad thanks to the "Dirigo Care" insurance plan Baldacci put into law. Not only is Baldacci vulnerable, but Republicans could have a big year in legislative elections as well, due to discontent with the status quo.

Former U.S. Rep. David Emery (R) began as the frontrunner, mostly thanks to name recognition. His poor campaign, which some observers believe has improved in the last two weeks of the race, has allowed State Sen. Peter Mills (R), the liberal in the race, to come up close behind. Mills has stayed ruthlessly on-message and acquits himself well as a public speaker and debater. He is also the first to go slightly negative in what has been a rather polite campaign.

If Emery splits the moderate and conservative vote with conservative State Sen. Chandler Woodcock (R), Mills could take the nomination. Still, this race is close enough that none of the three can be counted out.

Unlike some other New England states, which allow independents to choose their primary*, Maine has closed primary elections. Leaning Mills.

*Note: Independents may enroll Republican on the day of the primary to vote for Mills.