Honoring a pledge he made earlier this year, Independent candidate for governor Alan Caron announced on Monday that he’s dropping out of the race.
“Back in March, I did the most unusual thing for a candidate. I said that if by October if it was clear that I couldn’t win, I would do the right thing for Maine and withdraw from this race,” said Caron at a press conference at the Portland Public Library. “Today, I am fulfilling that pledge. I am officially withdrawing as an official candidate in this election.”
Caron had just earned 2.3 percent of the vote, according to the latest polls. A second Independent candidate, State Treasurer Terry Hayes, who has vowed to stay in the race, is polling at roughly 8 percent.
Caron suggested that Hayes should drop out too, calling on her to “do the right thing” before formally throwing his support behind Democratic candidate Janet Mills.
“There are no devils in this race,” said Caron. “But I have concluded that only one of them has the experience the intellect and the toughness to do this job. I’m joining forces and endorsing Janet Mills and I will do everything in my power to help her win.”
Mills joined Caron at the podium for a hug and a power pose before thanking him.
“I’m proud to have his endorsement,” said Mills. “I share in his hope for the future of Maine if we act now. I share his belief that Maine can be a state with less poverty, more optimism for young people. I share his belief that young people can be drawn to and new and vibrant economy with 21 century jobs in healthcare, technology and clean energy.”
Caron also urged the next Governor and Legislature to “fix the spoiler problem” by amending the Maine constitution to allow for ranked choice voting to be used for gubernatorial races.
“This is the most urgent priority in the next administration,” said Caron. “Let the people speak.”
The Republican reaction to Caron dropping out was odd. Despite the fact that a Republican has been in the Blaine House for eight years, and Caron has repeatedly lamented the failings of both establishment parties, Shawn Moody’s campaign manager Brent Littlefield called Caron a “longtime Democratic activist” and suggested anything other than a vote for Moody would be a vote for “politics as usual.”
Hayes invited Alan Caron's supporters to vote for her because “another partisan Democrat or Republican as Governor guarantees more fighting and gridlock in Augusta.”