Story posted March 23, 2010
Twenty-three people have declared their candidacy for governor of Maine, prompting the media to seek out Chris Potholm, DeAlva Stanwood Alexander Professor of Government. The latest is Down East magazine, which includes Potholm's observations in its article, "Help Wanted."
An excerpt from the article:
"I've never seen so many candidates, and seen them getting started in so many different ways so early," remarks Bowdoin College professor Christian Potholm, who has written several books on Maine politics and campaigns. "It's particularly strange in that the state has so many problems, and to be the next governor is to take on a tremendous burden. Plus, this is the lowest paid governorship in the country, by quite a bit."
Potholm cites the 1994 election, with nine Republican candidates, one Democrat, and a handful of other contenders as the most recent high-point in terms of candidates. He believes the enticement of public financing - qualified candidates receive up to six hundred thousand for a primary campaign and a million for the general election - is responsible for this year's rash of candidates. "The public financing has turned out to be some kind of Frankenstein's monster," he says. "At a time when the state is cutting health and human services, we get twenty-three people running around possibly going to get one million apiece? It's the law of unintended consequences, I think."