At the Union Fair this year, the Knox County Republican Party paid for a tent placed prominently on the midway. Over the course of the last three days the Knox County GOP tent has been uniformly staffed by one person and often by two people engaging in animated conversation with passersby. Lawn signs have been handed out for free, and every time I visited the tent a Paul LePage for governor bumper sticker was pressed into my hand. Buttons and t-shirts sporting American flags and made in sweatshops in Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras and Mexico were for sale.
The Knox County Democratic Party, on the other hand, had a few pieces of literature and a sign-up sheet placed on a table in the middle of the craft barn. Over the three days I went to the fair, I never once saw anybody actually staffing the table.
I don’t agree with the divisive, us-versus-them principles of the Knox County GOP, but at least there’s some evidence for their existence, and I’m not just talking about the fair. There are Paul LePage lawn signs and buttons and bumper stickers and t-shirts and caps visible all over midcoast Maine; I’ve not seen so much as a button announcing Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell’s existence. The Knox County Republican Party has a headquarters replete with signage up on Route 1 in the middle of Knox County where everybody drives. The Knox County Democratic Party has a P.O. Box and no visible headquarters; it holds meetings at a Stella Maris House.
The tally in November is what matters, but right now where I live the GOP has the hustle.