Maine shop owner announces bid for governor

Dec. 13, 2017
A lifelong body shop owner has stepped into a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates in Maine. Shawn Moody, owner of the 11-store Moody’s Collision Centers, announced his candidacy in late November.

A lifelong body shop owner has stepped into a crowded field of gubernatorial candidates in Maine. Shawn Moody, owner of the 11-store Moody’s Collision Centers, announced his candidacy in late November.

Moody, 58, previously ran as an independent in 2010, when Maine’s current governor, the outspoken and controversial Paul LePage was elected to his first term in office. Moody has since registered as a Republican, one of five currently in the race. Of the 16 candidates currently on the ballot, he probably has the least political experience. His opponents include the current sate house minority leader, state senate majority leader, the Maine Senate President, and a former commissioner at the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on the Republican side.

There are also ten Democrats currently running, along with a half dozen or so third-part and independents. Maine will hold its party primaries on June 12, 2018.

While he is effectively an outsider, Moody does have some powerful allies in his campaign.  After the 2010 election, Gov. LePage named Moody to the boards of trustees for the University of Maine and the state’s community college system. His campaign includes a number of LePage associates, including Republican strategist Brent Littlefield (who ran LePage’s 2010 and 2014 campaigns), LePage advisors Sean Ingram and Michael Hersey, former House Minority Leader Joe Bruno and, notably, Lauren LePage, an attorney and the current governor’s daughter.

Although he ran against him in 2010, Moody says that the current governor has “worked tirelessly and passionately to get Maine’s fiscal house in order.”

Take on Big Paint Jobs


Adding an oversized paint booth to your shop is a big investment for a potentially big return. This free whitepaper has everything you need to consider ahead of time.

Get the Whitepaper

“I look at myself as the guy who is going to take what he’s built, and build upon it,” Moody says. “We will continue to reduce government waste and invest the money to allow the economy to grow, which ultimately benefits everybody.”

Starting young

Moody opened his three-bay first body shop in Gorham, Maine, when he was 17 years old and still a senior in high school. “I was self-employed before I was old enough to vote,” Moody says.

In 1988, he bought an adjacent junk yard that he quickly transformed into one of the leading auto recyclers in the country. That operation was sold to LKQ in the early 2000s in a deal that included what would soon be valuable stock options. Moody worked for LKQ, helping the company transition new acquisitions, the leveraged the financial windfall from the deal to expand his collision business.

In 2008, Moody bought a small auto salvage/auction company that he later sold to Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA). Both LKQ and IAA both operate under lease agreements on Moody’s Gorham campus.

Now with 11 locations, Moody’s has established a central resource management operation to handle background office activities, human resources, IT, payroll, and other functions. “We’ve reduced our overhead,” Moody says. “Our sales are up 17 percent this year, but overhead is up just 1 percent. We have a very lean and efficient administrative structure now.”

Moody was spurred into political participation by what he saw as a denigration of tradespeople. “I’m not a political guy, I’m a tradesperson and a common sense conservative, and that's what we need running for government,” Moody says. “I want to restore the pride and respect that comes with working with your hands and doing something tangible for a living.”

Among his policy priorities will be helping small businesses (including shop owners), who he says have “lost their voice” in the political process. “I don’t have government experience but I’ve been experiencing government,” Moody says. “We know what regulations need to be changed and streamlined so that businesses have a fighting chance.”

For example, he’d like to limit the involvement of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) when it comes to commercial site development and expansion.

He characterizes insurance regulation in the state as a bit of a mixed bag. “Car insurance in Maine is some of the least expensive in the country, so I think we have a good competitive market here, and consumers benefit,” he says. “But health insurance costs are going through the roof. The Affordable Care Act was designed around young people buying insurance at a discounted rate. They didn’t get that revenue, and the system is collapsing. I will go to work on healthcare costs in the state of Maine.”

Moody plans to differentiate himself from the other Republicans on the ballot with his business experience and outsider status. “The difference is stark,” Moody says. “The other four candidates have a direct connection to government. I’m the outsider in Augusta, but I’m the insider of the people.”

Moody has already transitioned day-to-day operations of the collision shops to his brother (the current company president) and his daughter Danielle. That structure would remain in place should he win next November.

He hopes his campaign can also inspire others in the collision industry to get involved both in his campaign and in politics in their own regions. “We’re getting steamrolled by people who have no idea what it takes to run a business,” Moody says. “You have blue collar America and white collar America, and that’s where the real divide exists today. We have to restore the pride and respect that goes with building things every day.”

Should Moody win the Republican nomination this summer, his chances in the general election are difficult to predict. Republican LePage won re-election in 2014 by a roughly five percentage point margin, but his approval rating has dipped to 42 percent since then. Hillary Clinton carried the state in the presidential election (48 percent to 45 percent), but Donald Trump (also a LePage supporter) was the first Republican to win the state’s 2nd Congressional District since 1988.

Most early polls indicate the race could be a toss-up.

You can learn more about Moody’s campaign on his website:

About the Author

Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a freelance journalist based in Columbus, Ohio, who has been writing about manufacturing, technology and automotive issues since 1997. As an editor with Frontline Solutions magazine, he covered the supply chain automation industry for nearly eight years, and he has been a regular contributor to both Automotive Body Repair News and Aftermarket Business World.

Sponsored Recommendations

Best Body Shop and the 360-Degree-Concept

Spanesi ‘360-Degree-Concept’ Enables Kansas Body Shop to Complete High-Quality Repairs

How Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrow Collision Center, Achieves Their Spot-On Measurements

Learn how Fender Bender Operator of the Year, Morrison Collision Center, equipped their new collision facility with “sleek and modern” equipment and tools from Spanesi Americas...

ADAS Applications: What They Are & What They Do

Learn how ADAS utilizes sensors such as radar, sonar, lidar and cameras to perceive the world around the vehicle, and either provide critical information to the driver or take...

Banking on Bigger Profits with a Heavy-Duty Truck Paint Booth

The addition of a heavy-duty paint booth for oversized trucks & vehicles can open the door to new or expanded service opportunities.