Cutler, LePage and Michaud vie for women voters

Want to know where ground zero is in the Maine gubernatorial race? Women voters. As headlines get filled with polling results and squabbles about who will debate when, the real trench warfare is occurring elsewhere.

Independent Eliot Cutler, trailing the race in third place, has tried to put a dent in Democrat Mike Michaud’s support by reminding voters of Michaud’s past pro-life position.

Michaud, meanwhile, has landed the support of Planned Parenthood and just announced a rally alongside first lady Michelle Obama and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards Oct. 3.

And Republican Gov. Paul LePage, frequently flanked by his wife, Ann, at public appearances, has played up his efforts to combat domestic violence this campaign cycle with his vocal critiques of how the NFL has handled the Ray Rice ordeal. On Friday, he sent a second letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about the issue, calling on the creation coalition between governors and league owners to address the violence.

“Men must step up to end domestic violence, and NFL players are prominent role models who can turn the national spotlight on this reprehensible crime,” LePage said in his Sept. 19 letter, according to a report by NECN.

Recent polls have shown Michaud and LePage slugging it out at the top, with a polling average by putting Michaud at 41 percent support compared to LePage’s 39 percent. Cutler averages about 13 percent.

The tight margin between LePage and Michaud means the two camps are likely furiously drilling down to find out which voters remain undecided or “soft” in their support – and based on the signals they’ve been sending in recent days – it appears women are at the center of the action.

Rebekah Metzler

About Rebekah Metzler

Rebekah Metzler is a breaking news editor for CNN's digital politics team in Washington. Previously, she was a senior news editor with U.S. News and World Report, where she began her three-year tenure as a political writer. She spent much of 2012 on the road covering the presidential campaign in battleground states across the country. Metzler proudly tells all who will listen she hails from the great state of Maine where she covered state politics for the Lewiston Sun Journal and MaineToday Media. Metzler earned her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and her undergraduate degree from Bowdoin College.