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Down East

A Masterful Compromise on Contraception

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with the compromise that Obama announced yesterday on religious-affiliated non-profits and birth control. You can read the full details here.

In particular, it hits dead center on the (not-very-convincing) aguments Snowe and Collins used when they recently reversed themselves on the issue, which I outlined at Down East. It's hard to see a rhetorically-consistent way for them to fail to support his plan.

Portland Mayoral Rundown

16(!) people are now signed up to run for mayor of the city of Portland, a new city-wide elected office created by the Charter Commission and approved by referendum. The vote will be conducted using "instant-runoff" or preferential balloting. As a student of political science, I find it all fascinating.

Over at Down East this week, I take a quick look at each of the 16 candidates.

At first blush, it seems that Democrats Michael Brennan, Nick Mavadones and Jill Duson have an early advantage in a city that leans towards their party. Each has run in city-wide (or larger) elections and all three have strong political histories at the city or state level.

I wouldn't count out Dave Marshall, though. As the only Green on the ballot, he'll have a united block of support and he's a dedicated grassroots campaigner. His colorful posters and stickers are already appearing all over the city.

With this many candidates, however, anything can happen.


False Testimony on DeCoster Bill

As I reported a few weeks ago in the Portland Phoenix, the infamous egg magnate Austin "Jack" DeCoster has some friends in the Maine state legislature, which has been considering a law to help out his companies. That initiative may get voted on as early as today.

I have a magazine piece about all this in the forthcoming issue of Down East, but readers won't see that until after the legislature votes on L.D. 1207, an act that will free Mr. DeCoster's companies from the worry that their workers might one day unionize. The Down East article sheds light on the question many have about Mr. DeCoster: how does he keep getting away with it? But there are a couple timely details to report straightaway. Read more »

Bliss Resigns, Prompting Special Election

At Down East today, I take a quick look at the resignation of Democratic State Senator Larry Bliss of South Portland and the special election that will take place after he leaves the Legislature on April 15th.

Bliss, who lost his job at the University of Southern Maine 16 months ago, is leaving for a position in California. He won a very close race in 2010 against local radio personality and small business owner Joe Palmieri.

Cynthia Dill, a Representative from Cape Elizabeth perhaps best known for blogging about herself in the third person, has already tweeted about her desire to seek the seat.

Video after the jump. Read more »

Chances of Snowe: An Early Forecast

In the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel this week, I take a look at some recent maneuvering concerning the 2012 Senate race.

Snowe's announced Republican primary challengers, Andrew Ian Dodge and Scott D'Amboise, may not have what it takes to deny the senior senator her re-election, but there's plenty of time for a more credible opponent to emerge and there seems to be lots of local and national support available for a challenger's campaign.

At Down East earlier this week, I discussed Snowe's responses to a tea party questionnaire, which seems to be another example of her tacking rightward in an attempt to overcome a primary.

If the unlikely came to pass and Snowe was defeated for the 2012 GOP nomination, she would not be able to gain ballot status for the general election as an independent or third party candidate, as Joe Lieberman did in Connecticut in 2006. I believe she would, however, still be able to contest the election as a write-in candidate as Lisa Murkowski did, successfully, in Alaska last year.

LePage Begins Assault on Environment

At Down East, I take a quick first look at the drastic changes to environmental protections proposed by governor LePage in his first list of recommendations to the Legislature's Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform.

Basically, it's an unprecedented attack on virtually every aspect of Maine's system of environmental and consumer health protections.

The entire list is now available online thanks to the Kennebec Journal.

Election Pool Now Open!

Make your predictions here.

Waving the Bloody Hathaway Shirt

Today at Down East, a summary and some thoughts on LePage's claims of discrimination and other Crazy Train statements.

Reader John Kosinski writes in with some further questions about the episode:

Other questions remain of the whistle stop tour. For example, we learned through the PPH that the train ride was intended to be a fundraiser for LePage. Mainers willing to shuck out $750 were given special VIP access to the candidate. Who exactly paid $750 for this train ride? Last time I checked, one could ride from Brunswick to Rockland for a mere $42. Why would someone fork over $708 extra dollars for a train ride with Paul LePage? What kind of access were they given?

When the PPH called LePage’s office seeking a comment, his chief of staff told the PPH reporter she needed to talk with Paul. But Paul wasn’t available. He was out of town. Let me guess... was he on an out-of-town fundraising junket? Is he collecting checks from the Tea Party crowd in other states? Or is he hobnobbing with corporate leaders, cutting deals for some fresh campaign cash?

This may be a record for the fastest meltdown in Maine political history, but we're just getting started. It is only July, and the summer people are still hanging around. Once they leave, and Mainers are paying attention to this race again, I can’t wait to see what Mr. LePage tells us then.

Down East: Blogrolling

I'm back from Prince Edward Island, where I've spent the past week away from the internet and cell phone reception, and back to blogging.

I'm not the only one with something to say online, as you can see over at my latest Down East column.

Speaking of blogs and ideological ties; as I note on the about page of this site and to the right of every Down East post, I work for the Maine People's Alliance, a decidedly un-conservative organization.

Down East: Election Pool Results

Full results here.