Independent Senate candidate Angus King has made a $105,000 ad buy in Maine painting Republican opponent Charlie Summers as too conservative for the state.
The 32-second contrast spot features King — Maine's governor from 1995 to 2003 — looking straight into the camera and questioning whether Summers' positions on the deficit and global warming are in line with the voters in the state, where he's running to replace retiring moderate Sen. Olympia Snowe (R).
"My Republican opponent and I disagree on lots of things. Charlie signed a no taxes ever pledge that will make it impossible to solve the deficit. He doubts climate change science, favors taxpayer subsidies for big oil, and thinks Washington isn't broken," King says, alluding to Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist's oft-cited and GOP-signed no-tax pledge. "I want to bring common sense to the budget, get us off foreign oil with cleaner energy made in this country. And yes, Charlie, Washington is broken.
"That's the choice: more of the same, or a new Independent direction."
The negative ad, however, is a shift in approach for King, who as recently as last week tweeted, "Negative ads distract from the real issues in the campaign like energy, health care and jobs."
Summers, Maine's secretary of state, has been gaining in the polls, though King is still the frontrunner over him and Democrat Cynthia Dill, a state Senator. The new spot, combined with the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's $410,000 ad buy last week, are signs that both the Independent's campaign and Democrats are worried about a Summers surge.
As Roll Call previously reported, the DSCC is likely to use the ad buy to run negative ads against Summers, as this race could potentially decide the balance of the Senate, especially if King decides to caucus with Democrats.