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When Politics Becomes A Family Affair

Friday, Oct. 22, 2010

Libby Mitchell is running for governor of Maine. Her husband is a candiate for judge of probate. Her son is on the ballot for a seat on the Portland city council, and daughter Emily is vying to become a member of the state legislature.

The Republican party has filed an ethics complaint  against Mitchell, saying a recent ad featuring her family runs afoul of Maine's "clean elections" public financing, as it shows other candidates.

Libby Mitchell says she cleared it with the state ethics commission, which will now be reviewing the complaint.

Few candidates campaign without showcasing their family, and the most traditional ads are of the candidate with spouse, kids, and the family dog. What makes this different?

I saw the ad. It features the candidate and members of her family explaining why they live in Maine. There was no electioneering by family members, and from my perspective it was just another "feel good" ad.

But the complaint underscores the disturbing trend of last-minute ethics complaints. While some may be legitimate, overall they come off as last-minute attacks serving to further confuse the electorate.

Tags: campaigns

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