There Once Was a Dream That Was "Dump Baldacci PAC"
If you blinked this weekend, you might have missed the rapid formation and dissolution of a political action committee dedicated to ousting popular Democratic Governor John Baldacci.
The purpose of the organization, as its founder (and bow tie aficionado) Rep. Ken Lindell explained in the PPH on Friday, was to give money to any candidate from any party that was willing to run against the Governor. The main thrust of his campaign was a website (now defunct) which sported a badly edited photo of the governor with a red line through his face and sold bumper stickers with the sayings "Dump Baldacci" and "Tax your Canoe and Baldacci Too". (As Pat Colwell noted in the Press Herald piece, Baldacci actually had nothing to do with the proposed canoe tax.)
The next day, the PPH had an update on the PAC. Under the headline "Republican legislator dumps 'Dump Baldacci' campaign" was a short dispatch that included the following:
State Rep. Kenneth Lindell, R-Frankfort, said he made the decision Friday after consulting with colleagues and the governor's office. "I just thought it would be better for me to focus on serving my constituents," he said. [...]
Lindell said he had already raised $1,100[...] He said the money raised will be refunded to donors.
I wondered what exactly had made Lindell change his mind so quickly (and I figured the whole episode would be a good hook for a Polstate.com piece), so I called him up at his home in Frankfort.
Lindell was more than happy to discuss his differences with Baldacci, as well as his generally libertarian approach to political issues. He believes Baldacci has grown state government programs and is concerned with his "power and role" in the state.
When asked about why he dissolved the PAC, he admitted that he'd had conversations with Baldacci's office and the Republican leadership but refused to reveal their content. "I don't want to characterize any of the discussions I've had," he said.
He did paint, in broad strokes, however, the reasons why he was out of the bumper sticker business. "I was worried about being able to get work done," he said, and related that he had a relatively amiable relationship with his Democratic colleagues on the Insurance and Financial Services Committee, where he was proud of being able to "hold the line" on insurance regulations. (Lindell works in the financial services and insurance industry.) Apparently, the publicity that came with his PAC threatened that bipartisan relationship. "Things got ahead of themselves," he said, "this became a hot item of discussion very quickly."
When asked if he had received any political strong-arming from the governor, Lindell said no. He characterized Baldacci as "an able politician who knows how to win friends and influence people."
I doubt that would fit on a bumper sticker.
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