1/18/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,
Maine’s already crowded GOP primary to replace sitting Gov. Paul LePage could soon be seeing a fresh face.
Mayor Isgro just won re-election as Mayor of Waterville in November, winning in a three-candidate race with nearly 50% of the vote. He accomplished the feat in a city where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than a 2-1 margin.
In his first three years as Mayor, Isgro has an impressive list of achievements, including partnership deals Isgro spearheaded that have paid huge dividends for the community.
Under Isgro’s leadership, Waterville has partnered with Coby College and Central Maine Growth Council to revitalize the downtown area and create jobs, expanding Waterville’s tax base.
If he decides to throw his hat in the ring, Mainers can expect Isgro to run on a Trump-like agenda.
Other items of note: Isgro consistently calls for reforming the Refugee Racket in Maine, he advocates for infrastructure projects like expanding broadband internet access into the most rural parts of Maine, and he prioritizes ending the opioid epidemic destroying Maine lives, families and communities.
Isgro told Amy Colder of the Waterville Morning Sentinel, he’s considering entering the race, because none of the current candidates are speaking to Maine-First issues. He believes the field presently lacks a candidate who energizes the grassroots.
So far, announced Republicans include three RINOs in legislative “leadership” for the GOP: green-crony corporatist Senate President Michael Thibodeau, Senate Majority Leader Garrett “Maine-Last” Mason, and Speaker of the House, “Fraidy-Cat” Ken Fredette.
While in leadership, the trio has done little-to-nothing to advance a Maine-First agenda, and often side with Leftist Democrats in Augusta. All three participated in the Legislative Council’s Constitution-violating allowance of non-emergency bills into the second session. (Here’s a previous article about Thibodeau and Mason, here’s one about Fredette, and oh look, here’s another on Thibodeau)
Perhaps the two frontrunners in the GOP primary field are Democrat-turned-Republican, Mary Mayhew and former LePage rival, Shawn Moody.
Mayhew is the former Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. In her time as Commissioner, Mayhew led the charge to pay off MaineCare’s $500-Million debt to hospitals, and she removed more than 100,000 able-bodied Mainers from government welfare programs.
However, she is criticized for not cracking down on illegal aliens receiving welfare benefits and not doing enough to curb the opioid epidemic in the state. And many political insiders wonder if she has the passion and charisma to energize the GOP base.
Meanwhile, Moody is a business owner who ran against Gov. LePage as a Left-leaning Independent in 2010, finishing a distant fourth place, with only 5% of the vote. He was later appointed to the Board of Trustees of the University of Maine System and University of Maine Community College System. Moody’s campaign has been nearly silent on the issues since his initial announcement.
Both Moody and Mayhew claim they are the heir apparent to LePage. The Governor has consistently praised the work of Mayhew, while several former LePage-staffers, including the Governor’s daughter, work for the Moody campaign.
But perhaps it is Mayor Isgro who is most like our, unfortunately, termed-out Governor. Both were the Mayor of Waterville. And while the rest of the Republican field has at least some Leftist baggage, LePage and Isgro are both conservative-populists to the core.
The 36-year-old Mayor would stand out from the pack; however, his potential late entry does pose some problems.
For one, if he were to announce next week, Isgro would have lost at least three full weeks of petition gathering time. Leaving him with only about seven weeks to gather at least 2,000 valid petitions and have them all certified by the Registrar of Voters before the March 15th deadline.
Mayor Isgro also faces a funding dilemma.
And while money isn’t the only determining factor of who wins an election, it is difficult to motivate voters with your message, if you can’t pay for them to hear it.
That is not to say the Mayor can’t raise the money — just that he’s late out of the starting blocks.
Just yesterday, the first fundraising numbers of the campaign were released. We’re already seeing some big numbers in both primary races.
On Isgro’s Republican side, it is once again Mayhew and Moody who lead the way.
Moody has raised $300,000 in the past six months. However, he donated half of that money to himself.
Mayhew raised $200,000, but that was over the course of the entire year, and she’s spent more than half already.
Thibodeau just barely reached the $100,000 threshold.
Meanwhile, Fredette is at the back of the pack with only $14,000 raised.
And then there’s Mason, who is the only of these candidates who has filed for candidate welfare. Assuming he collects enough signatures, he will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to run his campaign.
The primary will be held June 12th.
Mayor Nick Isgro has an important decision to make. He’s a compelling candidate with a message and a vision Maine needs now and for the future. However, he’s late to the dance, and the ballroom is already crowded.
So, what say you Mainers? Should Mayor Isgro follow in Gov. LePage’s lofty footsteps and run for the Blaine House after serving as Mayor of Waterville?