Tea Party candidate for Governor up 18 points… in Maine?

The governor’s race in Maine has managed to fly below the radar of national pundits, but it’s a heck of a barometer for how bad things are for Democrats. Republican Paul LePage, the mayor of Waterville and a conservative Tea Party favorite is up big in all the polls, and his lead has been growing:

Republican Paul LePage earns his highest level of support yet in the race to be Maine’s next governor, moving this election from Leans GOP to Solid GOP in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard.

A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in the state finds LePage, the mayor of Waterville, earning 45% of the vote, while Democrat Libby Mitchell picks up 27% support.  Democrat-turned-independent Eliot Cutler trails with 14%.  Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.

In surveys dating back to June, LePage has consistently held the lead, with support ranging from 38% to 45%.  In those same surveys, Mitchell has earned anywhere from 27% to 36% of the vote, while Cutler has failed to earn more than 16% support.  Early last month, LePage led Mitchell 38% to 30%.

Remember — this is Maine. It’s one of the last bastions of New England, Country-club Republicanism. It hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1988, and now the state has Tea Party fever.

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