Let the debates begin! — plus, 7 stories you need to read

1st Congressional District candidates, from left to right: Republican Isaac Misiuk, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, independent Richard Murphy.

1st Congressional District candidates, from left to right: Republican Isaac Misiuk, Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, independent Richard Murphy.

With less than a month until Election Day, candidates are beginning to take the stage for debates, which begin this week with the 1st Congressional District debate scheduled for tonight.

The debate, hosted by the BDN and Portland’s CBS 13, begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be live streamed here at bangordailynews.com. All three candidates — incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, Republican Isaac Misiuk and independent Richard Murphy — will be in attendance.

Click here to read Seth Koenig’s great primer on the race, where the incumbent is favored to retain control of the largely liberal, southern district.

(The BDN and CBS 13 will also host debates for the 2nd Congressional District, on Tuesday, Oct. 14; the governor’s race, on Monday, Oct. 20; and the U.S. Senate race on Monday, Oct. 27.)

Gubernatorial debates also begin this week, with all three candidates scheduled to appear at two early-morning Chamber of Commerce-hosted events. They are:

  • The Portland Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues Gubernatorial Debate will be held at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Holiday Inn by the Bay. The event is sold out.
  • The Mid-Maine Chamber will hold its debate Thursday at 8a.m. as part of its “Business Breakfast” series, at Thomas College.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, and independent candidate Eliot Cutler also will attend an Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce debate on Friday. Republican Gov. Paul LePage, however, will not be in attendance.

That rubbed the Chamber’s chief the wrong way, according to the Sun Journal’s Scott Thistle. LePage’s campaign told Thistle that the demands of being governor and a vigorous campaign schedule prevented him from being able to attend every debate requested of him.

Michaud stumping with Bush Cabinet member, Republican VA chief today

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud has made veterans issues a hallmark of his tenure in Congress, and he’ll hit the campaign trail today with two former high-level GOP Veterans Affairs officials.

Former Republican Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi and former Republican chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Steve Buyer travel with Michaud to Lewiston for a news conference and Kittery, for a meet-and-greet with leaders and workers at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

It’s a twofer for Michaud, who will tout his record working for veterans and his bipartisan bona fides (what with the big “R” appearing next to his guest’s names).

7 stories you need to read

  • On Tuesday last week, majority Democrats in the Senate rejected LePage’s nomination of Susan Dench to the University of Maine System board of trustees, citing concerns over her beliefs regarding gender and accusations of plagiarism. It was the first time a nominee to the UMS board has ever been rejected in the Legislature.
  • In the era of ever-growing spending by outside groups, Maine’s publicly funded campaign system continues to take the hit. Only about half of the Legislative candidates this year are participating in the Clean Elections program — down from more than 80 percent just three cycles ago.
  • Maine’s junior U.S. senator, independent Angus King, endorsed Democrat Emily Cain for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. The nod brings King’s endorsement scorecard this year to one Democrat, one Republican (his Senate colleague, Susan Collins) and one independent (gubernatorial candidate Cutler).
  • News of the impending closure of the Verso paper mill in Bucksport — and the resultant loss of more than 500 jobs — reverberated throughout the state last week. With additional closures this year of mills in Old Town and East Millinocket, business reporter Darren Fishell took a look at just why Maine’s paper industry is in such dire straits.
  • First Lady Michelle Obama told a friendly audience in Orono last week that they needed to help Mike Michaud win the Blaine House — and they needed to convince like-minded friends to show up at the polls.
  • While a lot of attention is paid to federal races and the tight contest for the governor’s seat, it’s important to remember that the 186 races in the state Legislature will be just as crucial in determining the direction of the state over the next two years. BDN State House Bureau Chief Chris Cousins has you covered, here.
  • Our last must-read comes from Scott Thistle, the Sun Journal’s state politics editor. He took an in-depth look at how the debate over Medicaid expansion in Maine has played out for decades — and the impact this gubernatorial election may have in deciding the question of a new expansion that dominated the last Legislative session. Take a look.
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. Mario left the BDN in 2015.