On the day before the last election, some voters received attack mailers directly from the state political party headquarters in Augusta. In accordance with existing state law, the mailers were sent without the knowledge or consent of the candidate being supported.
In the House District 20 race, the mailer raised the candidate’s recall from the local school board while he was on active military duty in 1997. In another House race, the mailer raised 2001 allegations against the candidate which were later found to be unsubstantiated.
Such tactics are commonplace at the national level but have until recently been rare in local Maine politics. However, the recent apparent successes of unapproved, last minute, negative campaign tactics may indicate the nature of future campaigns.
Should state law be changed to require that government funded candidates approve of organized independent expenditures on their behalf by their political parties or should independent expenditures in clean elections be prohibited?