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Michaud campaign hires mudslinging specialist

Carol Andrews

Carol Andrews of Nashville-based Grindstone Research has been hired by Congressman Michael Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign.

She may be from Nashville, but she’s not carrying a guitar.

The Michaud for Governor Campaign has hired Carol Andrews, vice president and senior editor for the Nashville-based firm Grindstone Research, to conduct opposition research and devise negative attacks against Republican Gov. Paul LePage and unaffiliated liberal candidate Eliot Cutler.

Andrew previously served as communications director for Democrat Tom Allen’s 2008 campaign against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. And Grindstone lists failed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell as a client. Also on Grindstone’s client list? U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud.

Now, according to a Democratic source who asked to remain anonymous, Michaud has hired Andrews to manage his campaign’s negative attacks.

Andrews’ brash style and focus on mudslinging seems oddly out of touch with Michaud’s ostensible desire to elevate political rhetoric. In the edited version of Michaud’s first campaign ad, the Democrat said, “I believe now, right now, is the time to set aside the attacks…”

Andrews’ track record, however, reveals a cut-throat consultant unwilling to set aside attacks; indeed, mudslinging is her specialty.

Her former firm, the Nashville-based Fletcher & Rowley, Inc., offered the following courses at a 2006 Campaigns and Elections seminar in Washington, D.C.:

Ready, Aim, FIRE!
Going negative: when, why and how

A campaign would not be a campaign without some negativity. This session teaches you when it’s appropriate to “go negative,” how negative to be, and what to say.

Diggin’ for Dirt!
How to find and use oppostion research

Nothing says “gotcha” to an opponent like finding good dirt. In this session learn how to find invaluable information about the opposition and how to best use it to boost your candidate’s campaign.

Although recent experience – i.e. Romney v. Obama – and a deal of campaign research shows that negative attacks can succeed, many Maine Democrats credit Andrew’s with turning Tom Allen’s 2008 campaign into a train wreck – the sort of mudslinging affair that has never jived with Maine voters.

Michaud’s first ad did not contain any overt attacks and the candidate has thus far resisted going after his liberal and conservative opponents. But given the particular skill set of its newest addition, Team Michaud may be contemplating a sharp turn negative.

S.E. Robinson
Maine Wire Reporter

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