Tuesday, October 9, 2012

In a polarized age, Maine CD-2 candidates have much in common

In a politically polarized age, Maine's Second District Congressional race stands out. The district -- the largest east of the Mississippi -- is more rural, poor, and conservative than Maine's other, more southerly House district, and while it has supported Democratic presidential candidates in recent elections, its voters are largely responsible for giving the GOP control of both houses of the legislature in 2010.

Perhaps its not surprising, then, that the two men vying for the seat this year have a great deal in common. As my dual profile in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram points out, incumbent Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud and his rival, state senate president Kevin Raye, have remarkable parallels in terms of background (both live within a few miles of the rural Maine towns where they were born) and policy (both being moderates within their respective parties with reputations for fostering cross-partisanship and who express concern for the loss of American manufacturing.) They've even faced off for this House seat before, in 2002, when Mr. Michaud won by 4 points.

In the absence of stark contrasts, incumbency may be serving Michaud well. Polls have him up by double digits.

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