A.J. Higgins / MPBN

LEWISTON, Maine - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie returned to Maine today for the third time this year to help Republican Gov. Paul LePage raise more funds in his hard-fought battle for reelection. Christie is convinced the Maine governor is poised to play a larger role in conservative leadership.

As chairman of the Republican Governors Association, Christie told reporters in Lewiston that it's important that GOP governors seeking reelection stay the course to advance Republican ideals. But he he says LePage has a larger role to play for the country.

PORTLAND, Maine - Like two other polls released in the past week, a Critical Insights poll shows a close race between Republican Gov. Paul LePage and his Democratic challenger, Rep. Mike Michaud.  Independent Eliot Cutler is a distant third.

A conversation about the good, the bad and the ugly campaign ads so far this political season.

Guests:  Sam Surprise, President, Surprise Advertising
  Bob Cott, Partner and Account Director, CD & M Communications

By Alanna Durkin, The Associated Press

AUGUSTA, Maine - Gabby Giffords has launched a nine-state tour to promote tougher gun laws that she says will help protect women and families.

The former Arizona congresswoman urged law enforcement officials and domestic violence advocates in Maine on Tuesday to help her bring about change, saying "We can lead the way.''

Giffords, who was severely wounded by a gunman in 2011, spoke haltingly but clearly, telling the group, "We can win elections. Please join your voice with mine.''

ROCKLAND, Maine - A man convicted of bashing his wife on the head with a rock and pushing her off a Maine cliff is appealing his conviction and sentence.

A judge ordered Charles Black to serve 10 years in prison with a sentence imposed last month. A jury found him guilty of attempted murder in July. Attorney Walter McKee says he filed an appeal on behalf of Black.

The jury convicted Black of pushing his then-wife Lisa Zahn off of the 800-foot Maiden Cliff in Camden Hills State Park after hitting her in the head in April 2011. She survived.

AUGUSTA, Maine - A new poll shows Democrat Mike Michaud ahead of Republican Gov. Paul LePage in Maine's gubernatorial contest, with independent Eliot Cutler a distant third, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The Bangor Daily News/Ipsos Public Affairs poll canvassed 1,004 people — including 903 registered voters, 540 of whom were deemed likely to vote — online from Oct. 6-12.  It shows Michaud with 42 percent support, LePage with 36 percent and Cutler with 16 percent. One percent chose another candidate and 5 percent said they didn't know, or refused to answer.

MECHANIC FALLS, Maine - Authorities say the investigation into a Maine hayride accident that killed a 17-year-old girl and injured more than 20 others could be finished by the end of the week.

Investigators say it appears a mechanical problem caused a Jeep towing a wagon full of passengers in Mechanic Falls to crash during a Halloween-themed hayride at Harvest Hills Farm on Saturday. Oakland resident Cassidy Charette died from head injuries as a result of the crash.

PORTLAND, Maine - The imposition of FairPoint's final contract over objections of two unions representing more than 1,700 workers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont is becoming real for workers.

Effective Tuesday, the old pension plan was frozen; future contributions go into a 401k plan for workers. Later this month, open enrollment begins on a health plan that will require workers to pay for the first time.

HOULTON, Maine - A man has been charged in connection with an armed home invasion in Maine in which a second suspect was later shot and killed by a trooper.

State police spokesman Stephen McCausland says 48-year-old Timothy Slaton of Smyrna was charged with burglary and criminal threatening with a firearm in connection with the incident in Bridgewater on Sunday. He was taken to the Aroostook county Jail in Houlton. It wasn't immediately known if he had a lawyer.

Troopers said Slaton and 52-year-old Alan Gillotti of Ludlow drove off following the home invasion.

PERU, Maine — A man from the town of Peru charged with killing his mother-in-law is headed to court.

Authorities say 33-year-old Paul Orchard faces a murder charge at a court appearance scheduled for Tuesday in connection with the weekend death of Paula Nuttall.

The 57-year-old Nuttall was found dead Saturday morning in the kitchen of the home she shared with several other family members, including Orchard.

Authorities have not said how Nuttall died.

PORTLAND, Maine — Recent court filings have revealed the depths of Great Northern Paper Co.'s financial hole.

Great Northern, the operator of the paper mill in East Millinocket, Maine, filed for bankruptcy last month.

The Portland Press Herald reports that the company, managed by New Hampshire-based private equity firm Cate Street Capital, has roughly $28 million in assets, but has liabilities of slightly more than $65 million.

The Maine Association of Broadcasters has announced that Irwin Gratz of the Maine Public Broadcasting Network will serve as the new chairman of the organization for the coming year.

Gratz moved to Maine in 1978 and worked for 12 years in commercial radio in Sanford, then Portland, before freelancing for MPBN starting in 1990. He has been the local anchor of NPR’s Morning Edition news show since September 1992.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Medical Center says it has been asked by the federal Centers for Disease Control to hold a patient for observation.

Maine Med says, in a news release, there is no confirmation the patient is infected with the Ebola virus. But the hospital, and state officials, are saying little else about why the patient is being held at the hospital.

The hospital says it has the facilities and protective clothing necessary to isolate a patient if necessary; it is not saying if that's being done in the current case.

PORTLAND, Maine — Firefighters responded quickly to control a fire in an empty warehouse on Portland's waterfront that was first spotted by a boater.

Fire Chief Jerome LaMoria says the fire department was contacted by a boater around 7:10 p.m. Monday. The boater reported seeing flames inside a commercial building on Maine Wharf, behind the Dry Dock Restaurant and Tavern.

He says it took firefighters a few minutes to locate the fire because it could only be seen from the harbor.

He says once found, it was quickly extinguished.

CASCO, Maine — The popular boat launch at Sebago Lake State Park will close for about a month to allow for renovations and maintenance that state officials say will make it easier for boaters to get access to Sebago Lake.

The state Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and Land says the launch will close on Wednesday. The rest of the day area portion of the park will continue operating from 9 a.m. to sunset daily. State officials say the work will help boaters reach Sebago Lake and the Songo River.