Cain goes positive with first TV ad from Democratic congressional candidate

The first TV spot from Maine Sen. Emily Cain — one of two Democrats running for the party’s nomination in the 2nd Congressional District — will hit the airwaves Wednesday, according to her campaign.

The ad, in a nutshell, is a no-frills introduction to the candidate. It touches on these major themes:

  • Middle-class cred: A mill worker from Enfield (who’s got just enough of a Maine accent) says he’s voting for Cain in the June Democratic primary, and talks up her upbringing: “Emily knows what it’s like for families to struggle. As a kid, her family struggled just to stay in the middle class.”
  • Democratic catnip: The ad plays up Cain’s votes in the Maine Legislature to raise the minimum wage, and includes a pledge that in Congress, she would “protect Social Security and Medicare.”

Cain, who’s from Orono, appears at the end of the ad, saying ,”Our Democratic values are worth fighting for.” The ad features a nod to the district’s blue-collar identity in the form of the paper mill that serves as its backdrop, and commits the visual equivalent of a name-drop for the elderly population with a clip of Cain chatting with seniors.

And that’s it. Done.

If you’ve seen the other political ads to come out of the 2nd CD this week — attack ads from Republican candidates Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin — you’ll have noticed that Cain’s first foray into television is pretty starkly different. She doesn’t even mention her Democratic primary opponent, Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, let alone attack him.

The jabs we’ve seen in the lead-up to the Democratic primary pale in comparison to those we’ve seen recently between Raye and Poliquin. In fundraising emails, Cain has criticized Jackson for his 2009 vote against same-sex marriage and Jackson has said Cain “sounded like a Republican” when she supported a broad, bipartisan tax reform effort that would have raised the sales tax while lowering the income tax.

Aside from those featherweight punches, it’s been pretty cordial, especially compared to this doozy released by Raye today:

All in all, Cain can afford to stay positive. She’s in a pretty enviable position: Her campaign says she leads with double-digit margins in internal polling, and she has raised more money than Jackson. She also comes into the June primary with a slew of big endorsements from powerful groups like EMILY’s List and the League of Conservation Voters, among others. Plus, she’s getting some national attention, which is spreading like wildfire on social media. (Did you see this floating around Facebook yesterday? I did. A lot.)

That’s not to say Jackson hasn’t been endorsed too — most notably by several Maine labor unions, including the state AFL-CIO. Still, Jackson is in … a different place.

Last week, when the League of Conservation Voters put Jackson on its “Dirty Dozen” list, the Allagash Democrat vigorously defended his record, noting that this year he and Cain only differed on one key environmental vote. He took aim at the League, and questioned the motivations of its endorsement of Cain.

Jackson made some good points with regard to his record, but because he focused his ire on the League — not on his opponent — Cain was able to stay out of the fray. She didn’t have any reason to get involved. Again, she was afforded the ability to stay positive.

We’ll see how long the affable atmosphere in the Democratic primary lasts.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.