According to an article published at Politico by Steven Shepard yesterday, a new Political Action Committee (PAC) has decided to purchase television and radio ads in Maine promoting Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson. According to the article, the Americans Deserve Better PAC will spend at least $65,000 on ads in The Pine Tree State, which will be broadcast over the airwaves between today and August 26th.
The website of the America Deserves Better PAC, VoteForTheAdults.com, reads:
We believe that when words such as “liar”, “dangerous”, “criminal” and “crazy” are the most common that voters use to describe the Democrat and Republican nominees for President, it is a sign that Americans deserve better.
Americans Deserve Better PAC was founded to support Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for President and Vice-President of the United States. As two former two-term Republican Governors serving in majority-Democrat states, they are the only candidates on the ballot with a record of bringing people together to balance budgets, cut taxes, reduce unemployment and fight corruption in their states.
We are committed to increasing awareness of the Johnson/Weld ticket across the country and making sure voters realize they are an experienced, accomplished and credible alternative to the dysfunction of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Together we can show Americans that the only wasted vote is one cast for someone who you don’t believe in. If you’re tired of voting for the lesser of two evils, tired of compromising on the things you want to see in your elected officials, and hungry for leaders who will rise to meet the challenges that face our nation, then join us.
The list of the committee members of the Americans Deserve Better PAC reads like a who’s who of high profile Libertarian Party members and activists. The PAC’s treasurer is none other than former Libertarian Party chairman Geoff Neale, an early supporter of Johnson who resides in Texas. Former Libertarian Party chairmen Mark Hinkle, Bill Redpath and Michael Dixon also serve on the committee, as does Mark Rutherford, the former Libertarian Party vice-chair, and Jim Gray, Johnson’s running mate in the 2012 presidential election. Rounding out the list are three women: former 2016 Libertarian vice-presidential candidate Alicia Dearn, 2008 Libertarian presidential candidate Dr. Mary Ruwart and Nancy Neale, the wife of Geoff Neale.
One of the reasons the PAC may be focusing on Maine is due the state’s system of allocating two of its electoral votes based on the winner of each of the state’s two congressional districts. The only other state that allocates a portion of its electoral votes based on the results in each of its congressional districts is Nebraska; in 2008, one of the state’s electoral votes went to President Obama, the victor (by a razor thin margin) in the state’s 3rd congressional district, despite John McCain’s resounding 15 point victory overall in the state. This year, Trump has indicated that he will be hoping to carry Maine’s second congressional district, which has traditionally leaned more in the Republican direction than the state’s other district, which covers the seacoast and the Portland area. Johnson supporters may be seeking to capitalize on the fact that Maine is known for being friendly to third party candidates: in 1992, independent Ross Perot earned his highest percentage of the vote of any state in Maine (30.44%), which allowed him to come in second place (by a sliver) in the land of President Bush Sr.’s summer home. In 2000, Maine was Ralph Nader’s seventh best state by percentage of the vote (the consumer advocate earned 5.7% there).
While the total amount of outside spending on behalf of Johnson may not be known at this time, according to a NBC News article published on August 9th by Mark Murray, the campaign of Johnson itself has spent more on TV ads than the general election campaign of Donald Trump ($15,000 compared to $0). Meanwhile, Green candidate Jill Stein has spent $189,000 on ad buys.
Two Libertarian Party candidates are also waging write-in campaigns in both of Maine’s congressional races.
Below is a 60-second radio ad from the PAC: