Charles Dharapak | AP
By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
October 2, 2018 9:28 am
Up to date: October 2, 2018 10:18 am
Good morning from Augusta, the place ever-increasing outdoors spending and a brand new spherical of Democratic endorsements from former President Barack Obama are serving to to mild up battlegrounds on the map in the race for management of the Maine Legislature.
Outdoors teams have spent almost $four million in state races thus far, with greater than $three.four million of that going into the governor’s race. However the concentrating on in legislative races has begun — notably amongst Democrats who need broaden a lead in the Home of Representatives and take the Senate, which Republicans management by only one seat.
The early Senate battlegrounds are predictable — with maybe one exception in the early going. The most well liked Maine Senate race to date is centered on Auburn, the place Assistant Home Minority Chief Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, is dealing with Democratic doctor Ned Claxton of Auburn. Teams have already sunk almost $65,000 into the race.
The next big-ticket races are in Kennebec County — one in a Waterville-area district between state Sen. Scott Cyrway, R-Benton, and former state Rep. Karen Kusiak, D-Fairfield, that has seen $45,000 in outdoors spending and one on the outskirts of Augusta between Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, and Republican Matt Stone of West Gardiner that has seen $44,000.
That latter race is a little bit of a shock, since different Senate swing districts have gotten extra consideration, like the races between Sen. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, and former state Rep. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham, and Home Majority Chief Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, and former state Rep. Jayne Crosby Giles, R-Belfast.
Stone grew up in Litchfield, however he ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat out of Biddeford two years in the past. However many Republicans are bullish on the seat that was lengthy held by Republicans earlier than Bellows took it in a three-way race in 2016. Democrats are spending like they’re a bit fearful, throwing in almost all of that complete up to now.
Democrats are concentrating on different districts that haven’t been in play for some time, together with an open seat in York County being contested by Rep. Robert Foley, R-Wells, and former state Rep. Thomas Wright, D-Berwick. Wright and Kusiak acquired new Obama endorsements on Monday.
The previous president’s Maine endorsements have been additionally targeted on Home races, the place it’s more durable to gauge the map up to now. In southern Maine seats the place Democrats hope the nationwide setting will assist them in 2018, Obama endorsements included Diane Denk of Kennebunk, Tiffany Roberts-Lovell of South Berwick and Chris Caiazzo of Scarborough, who are operating open-seat races towards Republicans Roger Seavey of Kennebunkport, Manley Gove of North Berwick and former Home Minority Chief Linwood Higgins of Scarborough, respectively.
Obama additionally waded into some troublesome districts. One was by means of his endorsement of Democrat Chloe Maxmin of Nobleboro in an open-seat race in Kennebec and Lincoln counties with Republican Michael Lemelin of Chelsea in a seat held for eight years by a Republican.
As outdoors spending rises in these races, we’ll have the ability to gauge the map higher. The Obama endorsements shouldn’t be seen as information on their very own, however a set of priorities for his celebration that embrace a mixture of attainable and aspirational seats.
LePage blames referendums for widening structural hole
The governor is leaving a price range roadmap for his successor and his tackle the structural hole was an extension of that. Gov. Paul LePage’s finances division issued a Monday assertion saying the state will face a $504 million structural hole to be dealt with when Maine’s next governor and the new Legislature get to Augusta in January. It will be the largest hole that officers have confronted since 2013 whereas crafting a brand new two-year finances.
The LePage administration blamed three gadgets for driving the impending hole — unfunded however voter-approved Medicaid enlargement, a scheduled improve in municipal income sharing and the state’s voter-approved objective of funding 55 % of important Okay-12 schooling prices.
These assumptions will be baked right into a draft price range that the governor’s workplace has stated he’ll depart for his successor. Nevertheless, the hole estimate could also be excessive, as a result of it cites a $180 million value estimate for enlargement that’s larger than an estimate from the Legislature’s nonpartisan fiscal workplace that assumes some financial savings the place the LePage administration assumes none.
LePage needs to shield revenue tax cuts ushered in throughout his administration. In a press release, he blamed the progress in the hole on referendums handed with out funding sources and “the Legislature’s love of spending and failure to act on responsibly paying for Medicaid expansion.”
Nevertheless, Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, the co-chair of the Legislature’s price range committee, famous that the governor vetoed a legislative plan to fund enlargement and the state had a reserve fund of $273 million as of June that will issue into 2019 price range discussions.
“We’ve been fighting in the Maine Legislature to fund these things,” Gattine stated. “These are things that the people of Maine want us to fund.”
–Maine’s senior senator had enter on the scope of a brand new FBI investigation of the president’s Supreme Courtroom nominee. Amid considerations from Democrats and advocates for sexual assault survivors that the investigation can be so slender as to whitewash sexual assault allegations towards nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the White Home consulted with Sen. Susan Collins about increasing the investigation. However with Senate Majority Chief Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and Collins’ different Republican colleagues pushing for a vote this week, “it is still her understanding that the work will still be completed in the original one-week timeline,” Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark stated Monday afternoon. Collins is considered one of three GOP senators who stay undecided about whether or not to help Kavanaugh. The opposite two are Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, who referred to as for the FBI probe.
–Maine Republicans acquired the cheer a Trump — for a worth — in Portland.Donald Trump Jr. headlined a GOP fundraiser Monday night time at the Vacation Inn by the Bay. Attending the personal occasion with LePage have been U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey and 1st Congressional District candidate Mark Holbrook. The latter two are distinct underdogs, however ought to get a lift from the marketing campaign money that the president’s eldest son helped increase. Notably absent have been Republican gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody and 2nd District U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. These Republicans in Maine’s highest profile electoral contests this yr had prior commitments, in accordance to a spokesman.
–Tub Iron Works retains ending second in two-way contests with its chief competitor. Is it merely a case of a a lot greater Goliath — Huntington Ingalls Industries of Mississippi — overwhelming the shipbuilding model of David in Maine? Or are the second-place finishes — most just lately in contract awards to construct a brand new spherical of destroyers for the Navy — due to festering issues in Tub? Mike Keenan, president of the largest union at the yard, didn’t maintain again in expressing what he believes have to be carried out to make BIW extra aggressive.
–The federal authorities gave Maine one other extension to adjust to stricter driver’s license identification mandates. The newest waiver provides state officers extra time to implement the 13-year-old Actual ID regulation. The waiver is legitimate via Oct. 10, 2019, however Homeland Safety will not implement Actual ID till Oct. 1, 2020. Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap requested the waiver in August. Maine driver’s licenses will proceed to be accepted as legitimate identification for entrance into sure safe federal amenities, reminiscent of army bases, Homeland Safety headquarters and nuclear crops, in addition to for boarding business plane for home flights. The Maine Bureau of Motor Automobiles will difficulty Actual ID-compliant licenses and identification beginning next July. Mainers who need to apply for a Actual ID license will want to present a start certificates or different proof of authorized residency, and submit to a photograph taken with facial recognition know-how.
–A Maine city’s upcoming vote on infrastructure upgrades is principally a referendum on whether or not it needs to develop. Bridgton voters will decide three native poll questions in November that would unlock greater than $11 million in state and federal assist. However the city would have to provide you with about that a lot cash from different sources to cowl general prices. The portion not funded by grants can be paid for by bonds or notes issued in the identify of the city of Bridgton. A spokesperson for a senior dwelling complicated developer stated plans for a campus in Bridgton can’t transfer ahead until voters agree to pay for an improve to the city’s wastewater system. The state of affairs presents an fascinating instance of the relationship between native management, Maine’s sagging infrastructure and ground-level financial improvement challenges.
Prepare for Maine’s 200th birthday
Can Maine throw a very good celebration? In about 15 months, we’re gonna discover out.
The Pine Tree State turns 200 in 2020, so plans for a bicentennial bash are revving up. A bicentennial fee chaired by Sen. Invoice Diamond, D-Windham, will unveil the official bicentennial emblem — please inform me it was designed by O’Chang — and slogan — “We’re still wicked pissed at you, Massachusetts” — this morning.
The fee presents this poignant rationale for the celebration:
Maine’s 200th anniversary of statehood is a vital milestone that permits us to mirror on who we’re as a state. We will be in search of to encourage Maine people and organizations to become involved by incorporating the bicentennial theme into the occasions, items and providers they already supply, asking Maine firms to assist “lead the way” by sponsoring bicentennial efforts, and welcoming guests to take pleasure in Maine tradition and id with us. Maine’s bicentennial is an ideal time for us all to commemorate our previous, have fun our current, and take a view towards the future.
There’s already an internet site, which you’ll be able to see right here.
However we’re going to want a bicentennial beverage. Sorry, Alex Acquisto, however the early frontrunner has to be some type of cocktail involving Moxie and a number of flavored brandies.
And we will certainly want a bicentennial track. Ship in your ideas. In the meantime, right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
At this time’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. In the event you’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on hereto subscribe to the BDN.
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