Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, a candidate for his party’s 2012 presidential nomination, will appear at the Union Street Brick Church in Bangor on Friday morning to kick off a whirlwind two-day tour of Maine, according to his state chairman.
Paul state chairman Paul Madore said the candidate is expected to speak at the church for a half-hour, allowing time for a Q-and-A session in a town-hall format.
“No question, that’s in the plans,” Madore said.
He said the church was picked for its historical significance, as figures like writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau appeared there in the 1800s. Hannibal Hamlin, a Maine native and vice president under Abraham Lincoln, was a member of the church.
“If we were going to paint something out, I wanted to do it at a place that could use it,” Madore said. “And it’s very nice on the inside.”
Madore said Paul will be arriving in Maine late Thursday night. Friday, he’ll appear in Bangor at 10 a.m. then travel to Waterville, where he’ll be speaking at 3 p.m. in Colby College’s Ostrove Auditorium. Paul’s staff have also scheduled a Lewiston town hall meeting slated for 6:30 p.m at the Ramada Inn on Pleasant Street.
On Saturday, Paul is scheduled to appear at the University of Southern Maine’s Gorham campus at 11 a.m.
Madore said Paul’s early focus on Maine, whose Republicans will caucus from Feb. 4, to Feb. 11, is due to an “aggressive,” strategy. He’ll be the first Republican presidential hopeful to campaign here this year.
“He’s in it for the long haul,” Madore said. “He’s got a strong base in Maine because Maine is ripe for his kind of message.”
Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine, said Paul is guaranteed at least 10 percent to 15 percent of the GOP vote in any state because of a rabid support base. But she said in Maine he could see more.
“Maine has a strong libertarian streak and that could be the basis of his support,” Fried said.
Paul, a Republican with a sharp libertarian edge, won 18 percent of the Republican vote in Maine in 2008. At the time, he was the only Republican to campaign in-person here.