John Baldacci has been a client of MSA since 2002 when he became the first Democrat elected governor of Maine since 1986. After eight successful years in Congress, Baldacci was well-positioned to run for Governor.
However, because Maine has a unique history of voting for third party candidates, which includes electing a third party governor under the Independence Party banner in 1994 and then again in 1998, the political landscape in Maine proved to be anything but predictable. The Governor’s race in 2002 was an unconventional race for an unconventional state.
To achieve success, we helped develop a strategy showcasing not only John Baldacci’s record of legislative success in Congress, but also his maverick Mainer appeal, independent of partisan or special interests—an upstanding Maine citizen with long-standing roots in the community. MSA created ads with a positive, informative appeal that matched the independent streak of Maine. John Baldacci won a 47%-41% plurality over Republican Peter Cianchette, with Green Party Candidate Jonathan Carter getting only 9%.
Throughout his first term, MSA continued to work with Governor Baldacci in preparation for yet another multi-candidate race in 2006. After winning election in 2002, Governor Baldacci inherited a $1.2 billion dollar deficit and was forced to make tough decisions in order to balance the budget without raising broad-based taxes. Because of this, our communications strategy reinforced Governor Baldacci’s character at its core – the values of honesty, hard work, and willingness to take on the tough battles. With our ads, we created a contrast between the successes Governor Baldacci spearheaded in Maine and President Bush’s failed leadership in Washington. Baldacci won re-election convincingly, a feat not achieved by a Democratic governor since 1982.