Why I'm voting for Libby Mitchell

The race for governor in Maine has not drawn a great deal of national attention. This hardly surprising, given its small population and relative obscurity. Neither of our Senators are up for reelection, and both of our members of the House are safe. There's not a lot of glamour in the race for the Blaine House.

However, regular Bleakonomy readers (both of you) might be curious who gets the Official Blog Endorsement, particularly given the way the numbers are shaping up for the three major candidates:
In Maine... the Democrat, Libby Mitchell, whom voters had never warmed to, has seen some of her support shift instead to Eliot Cutler, the independent candidate, who has pulled even with her in some polls.


It certainly seems, then, that the race is Mr. LePage’s to lose; the model has his chances improved to 84 percent. I would caution that the model has to do a lot of guesswork with respect to three-way races, which haven’t been common in the past, and so its results probably need to be approached more skeptically than usual. If anything, though, I suspect that Mr. LePage’s chances are a bit better than 84 percent — although also, that Mr. Cutlers are at least somewhat better than the near-zero chance that our model gives him.
Let us dispense with the idea that I would ever consider voting for Paul LePage. There's no way marriage equality happens with him in Augusta, unless it's by long-shot affirmative referendum. I shudder to think what he'll do to Maine's social services. With no offense meant to any readers in Waterville, his tenure as mayor there doesn't stir any great desire on my part to see him do for the state what he did for the city. I would just as soon write in a vote for my cat.

That leaves Mitchell and Cutler. I've not met Mr. Cutler, but a person I know and trust has. She has experience as a legislator in Maine, knows and cares deeply about both the state and its policy, and her word carries a lot of weight for me. (Not having discussed the matter of this blog post with her, I'll have to keep her anonymous.) She assures me that Mr. Cutler would govern in a manner I would support. I seriously considered voting for him based upon her endorsement.

However, I'm voting for Libby. This is not merely because Cutler has next to no chance of beating LePage. I'm voting for Mitchell because she's earned it.

I've personally met her several times, and have worked directly with her in support of a (doomed) measure that would have allowed Maine workers to earn paid sick days for themselves or to care for their children. (This measure simply makes sense, and it's confounding to me that it and similar measures have failed in every state in this country where the issue has been considered. Ask yourself how much you'd like the cook in your favorite restaurant to show up with the flu.) I trust that her agenda comports with mine.

Further, I support Maine's Clean Election Act, and think it speaks to the strength of Mitchell's character that she is the first candidate for governor to run as a Clean Elections candidate. It's all well and good to pass a law, but it's much more impressive to actually run with its constraints as a matter of principle.

But, more than anything, I am voting for Mitchell because she stood up for families like mine. While Cutler may very well have done the same thing had he been in a position to do so, he wasn't. She was, and she did. There's been a lot of press about LGBT disillusionment with President Obama, which I share to some extent. However, as President of Maine's Senate, Mitchell shepherded through the legislation that would have allowed me to get married had it not been overturned by referendum. It took courage to do that, and her courage on my behalf demands my loyalty.

On Tuesday, I will be voting for Libby Mitchell.

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