LePage team goes up on TV with ad attacking Baldacci (video linked)

Nineteen months before Election Day, 2014, it appears that election season is back in full swing.

In what appears to this political analyst to be an unprecedented move in Maine politics, Gov. Paul LePage’s political arm, Maine People Before Politics, has purchased $41,775 worth of television advertising time.

I confirmed the buy with operatives from both sides of the aisle and the public records of at least one TV station. The buy begins today (Thursday, April 3) and covers the next week.

The ad focuses on LePage’s plan to pay the hospitals hundreds of millions of dollars in past debt. It begins by attacking former Gov. John Baldacci with the classic grainy photo used in negative attack ads (a little nervous about him running again, are we?), before it pivots backs to a smiling LePage over narration that encourages people to tell their legislator to pass LePage’s plan.

Here’s the ad (the first 30 seconds is what is running on TV).

But the great irony is that on the same day the purchase was made, the spokesman for the PAC, Brent Littlefield, sent out a press release in response to polling about the governor’s re-election. In it he says, “Some people would like the race for Governor to begin more than a year in advance. Governor LePage is focused on his success creating jobs and paying the state’s debts left behind by his predecessor.”

Since the ads will have zero impact on the legislative negotiations, its purpose can only be to strengthen the governor as early as possible in his efforts to be re-elected. Not sure it’s the Democrats who have started campaigning “more than a year in advance.”