Campaign Corner

Caron to all candidates for governor: Drop out if you can’t win

EDITOR’S NOTE: Since our staff cannot meet with all candidates or cover their campaign events, we have created this site to share candidate press releases and statements with our readers. The items are posted in their words and unedited. The views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northeast Publishing.

Alan Caron, an independent candidate for governor, is promising voters that he will drop out of the race in October if it’s clear that he can’t win, and he is urging all candidates to make the same pledge.

Caron announced his intentions in an op-ed published today in the Portland Press Herald.

Caron said he is making this pledge because it appears there may be four candidates on the general election ballot – two party nominees and two independents – and voters are worried about how the vote will be split and whether that will produce a divisive governor who cares only about a narrow base of supporters.

“Here’s my pledge to Maine voters: if it is clear, by mid-October, that I cannot win the election, I will publicly withdraw from the race. Plain and simple,” Caron said. “That is exactly what I urged Eliot Cutler to do in 2014 and privately recommended to Libby Mitchell four years earlier.

“I am challenging every candidate in this race to take a similar pledge – to put the needs of Maine people ahead of their own personal or partisan interests. If it is clear by mid-October that they cannot win, they should drop out of the race.

“Voters should challenge all candidates for governor to make that same pledge, and refuse to support them if they don’t.  If someone wants to be your governor, the first test of how much they care about the people of Maine is whether they will put what you need, and what Maine needs, ahead of their own ambitions. There’s too much at stake in this election for anything less.”

Caron said the current election system is in need of a major overhaul. It was set up at a time when there were only two candidates in on the ballot, but that hasn’t happened in an open seat election for Governor since 1974, and may never happen again.  Voters tried to update the system in 2016 by supporting Ranked-Choice Voting. Unfortunately, RCV can’t apply to the November elections because of constitutional problems..

He said that the Legislature could have fixed that problem by putting a constitutional amendment before the voters but instead did nothing so they could protect their parties and the old system that tilts in their favor.

Caron called for voters to be part of an informal version of ranked-choice voting in November by moving quickly to their second-choice candidate when their first choice falters in the polls.


Caron has spent years working to grow Maine’s economy and bringing people together. He believes Maine needs a governor who has faith in Maine people and who can unite us across party lines. He plans to be a champion for working people, small business innovators, a smarter government and debt-free higher education.

A resident of Freeport, Caron grew up in poverty in Waterville’s south end, in a family of mill workers and farmers. After dropping out of high school in the ninth grade, he went to work loading tractor-trailer trucks on the night shift, fixing machinery in a mill, and then became a laborer and carpenter. By age 25, he created his first small business, in printing and design, in Portland.

Despite having no formal education past ninth grade, Caron eventually earned a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and co-authored two books about Maine’s economy and government (Maine’s Next Economy, 2016, and Reinventing Maine Government, 2010. He also wrote a weekly column for the Maine Sunday Telegram, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel in recent years.

In his second business, started in 1987, Caron became an advisor to leaders of companies, nonprofits, and government agencies on how to achieve their goals and collaborate with others. Through that business, he worked on projects as diverse as expanding Bath Iron Works, removing the Edwards Dam, wiring the state’s libraries to the internet and protecting the working waterfront.

During the last 15 years, he also created two statewide organizations to help build a new prosperity in Maine. Caron founded GrowSmart Maine in 2003, where he brought the Brookings Institution to Maine for a landmark study called ‘Charting Maine’s Future’.

In 2010, he formed Envision Maine to promote entrepreneurs and an innovation-driven economy. There, he worked with businesses, nonprofit and government leaders to convene six large gatherings across the state to explore Maine’s future. The gatherings focused on the next economy, innovation, rural Maine, education and climate change. Each event was co-sponsored by as many as 30 partner organizations, ranging from Chambers of Commerce to environmental, education and energy organizations. The gatherings were all designed to focus on the future, on opportunities and on common ground.

Caron’s economic plan is a product of those many large gatherings.

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