A one on one interview with Eliot Cutler

Eliot Cutler headshot.jpeg

Eliot Cutler. Photo contributed to the BDN by the Cutler campaign.

On Thursday morning I sat down with Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler for a one on one interview at his campaign headquarters in Portland. I had my camera phone recording the whole time, and used the opportunity to ask him some of the questions that I felt should be cleared up about his candidacy.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I support Democratic candidate Congressman Mike Michaud for governor, and that I believe that Cutler stands no chance of winning, only of pulling votes away from Michaud and giving incumbent Paul LePage a chance at winning a second term without a majority of the vote (again). A chance that LePage would have no sight of if he were running in a two-way race between either Michaud or Cutler.

But alas, Cutler refuses to drop out, even though his polling numbers are still extremely far behind his two opponents who seem to be trading off for the lead every other day.

So sadly, and embarrassingly, and maddeningly, Maine may very well be faced with four more years of inanity with LePage at the helm of our fledgling state.

I asked Cutler several questions, most scripted and some off the cuff, and he gave very candid and open answers.

Here’s a few snippets from the interview:

Chris Shorr- “Could you respond to reports by Mike Tipping of The Bangor Daily News that the Republican Party has been sending out fliers in support of you to liberal voters?”

Eliot Cutler- “(laughs) I don’t get those fliers, I guess I’ve seen one, I think. I didn’t ask them to do it, I doubt they’re doing it for my benefit. If it’s the same flier that (a campaign staffer) had, then it looked to me to be accurate, which is more than I can say about some bloggers.”

CS- “So you’ve mentioned that you support photos on EBT cards, could you elaborate on that?”

EC- “I don’t see a problem with photos on EBT cards. I have a photo on my driver’s license but (photos on EBT cards) are more expensive than what I propose doing which is putting microchips in the EBT cards so that you can keep them from being used for the things that we don’t want them used for.”

CS- “Where do you stand on the issue of turning USM into a ‘metropolitan’ university?”

EC- “If I knew better what that means, I could take a position I suppose. I don’t fully understand what that means.”

CS- “So there’s a lot of folks who are opposing the metropolitan idea who say that the whole idea of a financial crisis (within USM and the university system) is manufactured.”

EC- “I was chair of the board of the Muskie School for ten years, and I knew at the time it was happening that we were sliding into financial circumstances that were going to be horribly difficult to unwind… No one can persuade me that the University of Maine System and the University of Southern Maine is not in a financial bind, it is.”

CS- “What do you have to say to people like me who believe that your candidacy serves to skew the results in LePage’s favor?”

EC- “What do I say to you? I say to you, if you think that I’ll be the best governor in the state of Maine, then I want your vote, and I’m asking for your vote. But if you don’t think so, then vote for somebody else.”

And here is the video of the interview in its entirety:

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.