AFL-CIO endorses Cain, Bellows; Mike Tipping’s new book on his favorite governor

The Maine AFL-CIO — the federation representing most of the labor unions in Maine — put out two more endorsements on Tuesday. The group will throw its weight behind 2nd Congressional Distict candidate Emily Cain and U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows.

Both Cain and Bellows are Democrats, making the endorsement less of a surprise than a formality.

Notwithstanding the endorsement of incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins — Bellows’ opponent — by the labor unions at Bath Iron Works, workers’ groups traditionally support the Democrats, who more often vote in favor of policies that benefit unions.

Cain and Bellows also have records in sync with labor unions. For her time in the Maine Legislature, Cain has a 99 percent rating by the AFL-CIO for her opposition to right-to-work laws, support of increasing the minimum wage, and other issues. While Bellows has no legislative record, she’s made economic populism a core pillar of her campaign.

The support of labor is widely accepted as crucial to Democrats’ “get out the vote” efforts, though with declining membership, some say the political strength of unions has diminished over the years.

Still, the Maine AFL-CIO represents more than 42,000 workers and retirees in the state, making it one of the largest advocacy groups out there, in terms of membership. Those numbers will likely translate into volunteer hours and financial support for endorsed candidates.

The Maine AFL-CIO endorse U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s gubernatorial campaign in October. Michaud, a former mill worker in Millinocket, is one of the only card-carrying union members in Congress.

Mike Tipping wrote a book about Paul LePage

Tipping, communications director for the liberal Maine People’s Alliance and blogger for the BDN, has apparently been working on the book “As Maine Went” for 13 months.

In his Kickstarter video, Tipping says he’s uncovered previously unreported “surprises” about the effect LePage’s tenure as governor has had on Maine people. The book will apparently describe the circumstances of the 2010 election, when LePage and Republicans swept the Blaine House and the Legislature.

I haven’t read the book, obviously, but Tipping has been one of LePage’s loudest critics, so despite Tipping’s claim that the book is a dispassionate review of the governor’s first term, it’s safe to say the book will be heralded by the governor’s foes and fiercely criticized by his supporters.

In his video, Tipping even alluded to a hope the book will have an impact on the November gubernatorial election.

“I hope you enjoy it and I hope it makes you think about the direction of our state before the next election,” Tipping said.

GOP criticizes Michaud for D.C. fundraiser with Pelosi

As if no Republican candidate has ever held a fundraiser with top members of his party, the Maine GOP on Tuesday cried foul over a Michaud fundraiser scheduled for today in Washington, D.C.

According to the invitation, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, will be in attendance. The fundraiser takes the form of a “lobster bake,” and attendees must contribute at least $250 to attend.

Maine GOP spokesman David Sorensen said the fundraiser provides a stark contrast between Michaud and LePage, his Republican opponent in the election. The governor is currently on a trade mission to China.

“Governor LePage has been relentlessly fighting for jobs during his three years in office and as a result, our employment rate is among the top three in the nation since the recession,” Sorensen wrote in a release. “On the other hand, Michaud has proven to be an obscure career politician whose only interest is getting re-elected and raising big cash from D.C. lobbyists.” 

If Pelosi is stumping for Michaud, it could be a boon for the six-term congressman. A former speaker of the House, Pelosi is known as a fundraising powerhouse in the Beltway. According to Politico, Pelosi raised $35.5 million for other Democrats in 2013.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House.