PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Two super PACS are pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into Maine for television ads in support of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in hopes of winning one of the state’s four electoral votes.
Restore Our Future says it’s spending $460,000 for a seven-day ad buy at Portland, Bangor and Presque Isle television stations. American Crossroads, a super PAC co-founded by Republican operative Karl Rove, is spending $1.6 million for seven days of ads at stations in Portland, Boston and Burlington, Vt.
The ad buys show that the Maine race is close between Romney and Democratic President Barack Obama, especially in the more conservative 2nd Congressional District in central, eastern and northern Maine, said Nick McGee, the head of the Maine Republican Party’s Maine Victory campaign.
Maine allocates electoral votes in part by congressional district, with two votes going to the state’s overall winner and one to the winner of each congressional district.
‘‘It shows what we've been saying all along, Maine is competitive and we think we can win this state,’’ McGee said.
Maine Democratic Party spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt said the buys are an 11th-hour ‘‘act of desperation’’ by Romney support groups.
Maine has never split its electoral votes; the state hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential race since 1988 and most polls now show Obama with a comfortable lead in the state.
‘‘They know they don’t have a clear pathway to victory across the country and are doing whatever they can in hopes of getting the 2nd District electoral vote,’’ Reinholt said.
American Crossroads said its two ads running on Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont television stations are targeted primarily at New Hampshire voters while also airing in the other states in hopes of persuading voters there to voter for Romney, the group said.
One of the ads features actor Clint Eastwood telling viewers that Romney is the man who can turn the country around. The second ad criticizes Obama over his policies on China. American Crossroads didn’t have a breakdown of how the $1.6 million buy would be split among the three states.
‘‘President Obama failed to turn the economy around over the last four years, hasn’t proposed anything new for the next four years, and we need to hold him accountable by electing a new president,’’ said American Crossroads President and CEO Steven Law.
One of Restore Our Future’s ads features a double amputee war veteran who speaks in support of Romney. The second takes aim at Obama over the nation’s high unemployment, falling incomes and high government debt.
Michael Czin, regional press secretary for the Obama for America campaign, said the Obama campaign remains strong in Maine through the grassroots efforts of volunteers.
‘‘Romney and his allies may think they can come in with special interest-funded TV ads and try to sway the election, but no TV ad can replace a strong grassroots organization of committed Mainers who are taking stock in the future of their state and country,’’ Czin said.