WESTBROOK – Declaring Democratic Gov. John E. Baldacci has taken the last four years to prove he “can’t get the job done,” Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney touted Republican gubernatorial nominee Chandler Woodcock on Wednesday as the “new leadership” that will transform the state’s economy.
Furthermore, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Romney said he would make sure “hundreds of thousands of dollars” would be spent on Woodcock’s behalf in Maine. If that wasn’t enough, Romney confirmed his organization already was paying the travel and lodging expenses for volunteers from other states to campaign for Woodcock in Maine.
“We do have some people here who are part of the campaign team,” Romney said during a press conference at D&G Machine Products Inc. He added that the RGA had also put out a call for more volunteers to come to Maine. “The folks we’re looking for are those who will make phone calls, go door-to-door and that number will develop two to three days before the election. … We’re very committed to making sure that Chandler Woodcock’s message gets out.”
Baldacci was clearly unhappy Romney drove all the way from Massachusetts simply to criticize a sitting governor. On top of that, Baldacci said, Romney was incorrect about the administration’s fiscal policies and failed to recognize that Maine had come out of the recession with a deficit. Despite that deficit, Baldacci said he was able to balance the budget with no new broad-based taxes and produced a $150 million surplus to boot.
“For him to come into Maine and talk about our fiscal condition, well, he ought to get his facts straight before he starts walloping Maine and me,” Baldacci said.
Romney confirmed that a letter had gone out from the RGA to GOP activists across the country to volunteer their efforts in Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan and Oregon, where Republicans think their gubernatorial candidates can win.
Woodcock is a publicly funded candidate and can accept no money from private sources. The state ethics commission recently concluded that independent expenditures – such as those offered by the RGA – in Woodcock’s behalf should not trigger matching funds for his two other publicly funded opponents. That ruling has been appealed by Green Independent gubernatorial candidate Pat LaMarche to Kennebec County Superior Court.
Woodcock and Romney toured D&G Machine Products Inc. in Westbrook to illustrate that Maine companies can compete nationally. The company manufactures equipment for a variety of corporations, including high-tech firms, defense contractors and the paper industry.
Romney said Mainers couldn’t hope for better schools or a better health care system without a stronger economy and that that won’t happen until Maine has a governor who knows how to reduce the tax burden to allow for greater job growth.
“I think you’re going to be surprised to find a new Republican governor on Nov. 8 and that’s exactly what the doctor ordered for Maine,” Romney said. “People recognize that the path the state has been on of spending more and more money, raising taxes and having high levels of fees and taxes is driving away jobs.”
Romney left the Westbrook business in a black sport utility vehicle accompanied by two Massachusetts state troopers, who drove him back to Boston, where he resumed his gubernatorial duties for the commonwealth. A potential 2008 GOP presidential candidate, Romney hasn’t been the only political heavyweight to stump for Woodcock. Earlier this year, Arizona Sen. John McCain appeared at the Yarmouth Clam Festival to endorse the state senator.
On the Democratic side, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry campaigned Saturday on behalf of Baldacci and former President Clinton appeared at a fundraiser for the governor and others Monday.