Nat’l conservative group scouts out ME campaigns

The field director for the influential conservative group FreedomWorks was in the state last week, meeting with tea party groups and scoping out the political scene.

Brendan Steinhauser said he met with members of both Maine Refounders and Maine Patriots, the two main tea party groups in the state. He also planned to meet with members of 2nd CD challenger Jason Levesque’s campaign team and was “open” to meeting with gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage.

While LePage has clearly enjoyed a tea party boost in Maine, his campaign has just as clearly worked to tout his support as broader than that.

This was sort of a scouting mission for Steinhauser. He wanted to meet with groups that support LePage and Levesque, and to find out more about the candidates. If the candidates line up with FreedomWorks’ libertarian mission, he said, the D.C.-based organization might support the groups with training, media handling, access to email lists and other efforts.

And FreedomWorks’ support could lead to financial backing from other national groups, said Steinhauser.

Steinhauser said he was also sussing out whether there might be any challengers to Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe in 2012 that his group might back.