There's no shortage of interesting campaigns this year, but there's no race in the nation quite like Maine's gubernatorial race.
If you haven't been following it, Tea Partying Gov. Paul LePage (R), who won with less than 38% of the vote in a three-way race in 2010, is effectively tied in most recent polls with Rep. Mike Machaud (D). LePage would probably get crushed in a head-to-head contest, but the mainstream vote is being split between Machaud and Independent Eliot Cutler, who also ran four years ago.
On Tuesday, the Republican Governor's Association released its latest ad, which attacks Michaud and not-so-discreetly props up Cutler.
The RGA spot explains that a vote Michaud cast when he was in the Legislature would have imposed a new tax on Social Security. "It was such a bad idea that then-Gov. Angus King vetoed it," the ad voiceover said. "No wonder independent King now endorses Eliot Cutler."
Yep, the Republican Governors Association has taken the extraordinary step of creating an ad touting a popular figure endorsing an independent candidate. The independent candidate is running against a Republican incumbent, but the RGA doesn't care -- if it can boost support for Cutler, those are votes coming from Maine's mainstream, not the Republican base.
In other words, the Republican Governors Association is sending a not-so-subtle message to Cutler's supporters: it's time to use you as a pawn in the Republican machine.