Gorham businessman Shawn Moody launched his second run for governor Tuesday, this time as a Republican.
Moody hit topics familiar to conservative audiences, including welfare, supporting veterans and a business approach to government. Mainers are tired of just getting by," he said. "It's time to get ahead."
Moody, who finished fourth out of five candidates as an independent seven years ago, has enlisted several political advisors to Gov. Paul LePage to bolster his run.
Moody, age 58, is hoping his unassuming demeanor and business background will resonate with a GOP primary electorate that has shown a preference for candidates perceived as outsiders.
But he's doing so with a campaign apparatus that's been in control in Augusta since LePage was elected governor in 2010.
LePage's daughter Lauren is part of Moody's campaign and so is Brent Littlefield, a D.C.-area consultant who hails from Maine.
Littlefield continues to advise LePage as well as 2nd District Congressman Bruce Poliquin - and his clients often mimic the rhetoric and policy positions of the Beltway GOP.
His clients are also known for granting limited press access to allow for deeper examination and understanding of policies and positions. On Tuesday, Moody was rushed off the stage after completing his prepared remarks. He took no questions and gave no interviews.
Whether such tactics will help or hurt Moody's candidacy is an open question, but his alignment with LePage's team could help him woo the governor's base of supporters.
Moody's personal story and folksy charm were widely applauded during the bruising 2010 governor's race. His appeal didn't translate into a windfall of votes, but he says he was approached by operatives in both parties about his political future.
Three years ago, LePage picked him for the board of trustees for the University of Maine and community college system - a move some considered as keeping the Gorham native in the political fold but out of the 2014 gubernatorial race.
But now Moody's back in and looking for his lane in a crowded GOP field that includes four other candidates: Senate President Michael Thibodeau, House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette, former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason.
In a statement, Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said Moody's candidacy represents an attempt by LePage's team to maintain its grip on Augusta.
"Moody has admitted in his own words that he’s ‘philosophically aligned’ with Paul LePage and by hiring LePage’s closest advisors, he’s proving that he’s no different than every other Republican candidate: hell-bent on running to the extreme right and putting forward the same old failed ideas that haven’t helped Maine," Bartlett said. "The last the thing Maine can afford is four more years of LePage-style policies."
This story was originally published Nov. 21, 2017 at 1:38 p.m. ET.