What’s the #1 Election Issue in Maine? Bear Baiting.
Here’s how it works. Out-of-shape middle-aged guys from Boston and New York City are willing to spend a couple of grand a piece to come up to Maine to “hunt” a bear. That’s big bucks to the locals.
The city guys don’t actually do any real hunting, of course. Black Bears in the wild are very alert and very clever, so they are difficult to hunt, unlike deer and moose which are really dumb.
So … an entire industry has been developed by “Certified Maine Guides” to accommodate the bear-killing needs of these affluent customers. “Bait” (day-old donuts are popular) is placed in locations near guest lodges, and the guests, dressed in color-coordinated LL Bean hunting clothes, are driven, in rugged-looking extended cab pick-up trucks, to a spot where they can conveniently shoot at the bears, without too much exertion. (Many of the guides carry cardiac defibrillators in their trucks, just in case.)
All of this was fine for decades until a bunch of “whining out-of-state environmentalist nuts and animal lovers” got a voter referendum placed on the November ballot, to ban the practice of Bear Baiting. (Actually it was native Mainers who did it, with a little bit of financial help from national organizations, but that’s not what the talk radio audience wants to hear.)
In addition to regular political ads (i.e., for governor), Mainers have been bombarded by “pro” and “anti” Bear Baiting ads for months.
Here is a short video on the politics of Bear Baiting, explaining why having this issue on the ballot may help the Republican candidate for governor (LePage) and hurt the Democrat (Michaud). Michaud is ahead in the polls, at the moment.