If you don’t believe me, just ask Ted O’Meara, campaign manager for gubernatorial hopeful Eliot Cutler.
In an e-mail to Cutler’s supporters this week, O’Meara praised his team’s hard work and their ability to collect more than 5,000 signatures to ensure that Cutler will be on the November ballot.
But O’Meara also took a swipe at Maine’s political parties, pointing out that campaign rules discourage independent candidates from seeking office.
“Our work was made more challenging by the fact that Independents like Eliot have to collect 4,000 signatures, while the party candidates only have to collect 2,000,” O’Meara wrote. “It’s just the reverse when it comes to fundraising; Eliot can collect only half as much per contributor as the party candidates.
“That’s right: twice the signatures, half the money. Guess who wrote the rules?”
O’Meara goes on to say that “self-serving election laws are the only thing the parties can agree on these days.”
It should be noted that O’Meara was more than happy to be a member of a major political party in the not-too-distant past.
In fact, O’Meara was once the chair of the Maine Republican Party and served as a staffer for both Senator William Cohen and Senator Olympia Snowe.
But his point about party control of Maine politics is valid.
In fact, members of both major parties ought to seriously ponder why an ever-increasing number of Americans are registered as unenrolled voters.
Being “independent” is gaining traction all across the nation, and that spells big problems for the big parties, especially when it comes to fundraising from a smaller pool of voters.
Although the party faithful generally point out that their candidates must endure the expense of grueling primaries, that’s just not the case this year.
Both Democrat Mike Michuad and Republican Paul LePage are unopposed for their respective party’s nomination.
Regardless of whether you support Cutler, we should level the playing field for all candidates. Let’s be independent together!