This year has certainly been an interesting year for Maine politics, and Republican politics in specific. The entire world has been turned upside down as the establishment was seriously challenged and now the force that challenged the Republican Party is looking to score the Party a win in a generally liberal city. Portland has always been a winning location for Greens and Independents, but not Republicans. That was, until the Ron Paul movement led to three candidates stepping up to the plate and launching viable, strong campaigns. Meet Davian Akers, Kevin Casey, and Gwen Tuttle, three rising leaders in the liberty movement. All three are running in their respective Portland districts for the Maine legislature and are looking competitive as we draw closer to Election Day.
Portland writer and fellow Bangor Daily News blogger Chris Busby wrote in an August 9th article titled “A Republican state legislator from Portland? Hades is approaching freezing point,” that the views Tuttle hold, which are not the norm within the Republican Party, are catching on. Some would call them liberal, but they are actually libertarian. Libertarianism is a growing force within the Republican Party, as shown by the Ron Paul movement’s strong showing in this year’s election cycle. Can she win? Busby says with Green incumbent Ben Chipman and Democratic candidate Herb Adams splitting the liberal vote, it’s very possible.
In a separate article by Busby on October 4th, titled “More signs of the apocalypse: Republican sighted in Portland’s West End, and people agree with him”, he discusses Kevin Casey, who many of the liberals who dominate the political arena in Portland can agree with. Casey is no liberal, but his libertarian views are one that appeal to liberals on a number of issues, as they do equally to conservatives. Unlike Tuttle, Casey has the benefit of facing no incumbent. But like Tuttle, he will benefit from a three way race where a Green and Democrat will likely split the liberal vote.
Although an article has yet to be written about Davian Akers, he too is apart of the new breed of Republican that is looking to do the unthinkable. The liberal appeal is there in libertarianism, such as pro-choice or pro-gay marriage. While it may be unsettling for Republicans, it should be noted that not one of these three individuals are RINOs (Republican In Name Only). When it comes to fiscal policy, the issues that matter most to Mainers, they are solid. Phase out the income tax in a responsible manner, close welfare loopholes and reform the system, and make government more efficient. This is the libertarian message. What about it can Republicans really disagree with? It’s limited government. It’s fiscally sound government.
The three have one thing going for them that Waterville Mayor Paul LePage won on in 2010 and that Secretary of State Charlie Summers could benefit from as well this year, which is the split liberal vote. A lot is said about the disunity that is clear within the Republican Party, but it would appear that the Democratic Party is not as structured as many would be led to believe. If this were not the case, their base would not waver on their candidates and go vote third party. Greens are running in each of the three Portland races, alongside the Republicans and Democrats. The Greens and Democrats have the liberal appeal, but the Republicans have the conservative vote and that libertarian appeal that reaches out to many liberal voters.
Everyone can be positive of one thing however: Portland is critical. While the Republican Party has the majority in the Legislature and could be gaining throughout the State, what the Democrats do have is an area in Maine that is firmly liberal. A group of young, liberty-minded Republicans are challenging the entrenched interests in the heart of Democratic territory, though. When Wednesday comes, the State could very well be shocked to see Republican Representative-elects from Portland. And yes, “Representative-elects” is intentionally plural.