Thousands expected for Bernie Sanders in Portland tonight

Good morning from Augusta. We hope your Fourth of July weekend was full of grilled foods, good friends and fireworks viewed from a safe distance.

While the holiday is behind us, we’re still scheduled for a quiet week in Augusta. Lawmakers are still in adjournment limbo until July 16 when they return for a final day of veto override votes. In the meantime, here’s a few other stories to keep an eye on. — Mario Moretto, BDN.

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Bernie Sanders brings crowd-drawing campaign to Portland

Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, at a campaign event last month in Iowa. Reuters file photo by Jim Young.

When he announced his presidential bid, Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont and a self-described democratic-socialist, was initially chalked up as an also-ran — a footnote to what everyone assumed (and many still assume) will be the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the party’s 2016 presidential nominee.

Today, Sanders is drawing the biggest crowds on the campaign trail. Last week, with the election still 16 months away, he attracted more than 10,000 people in Madison, Wisconsin, just to hear him give a speech. He also raised $15 million from donors in the second quarter and while that’s only a third of what Clinton raised, it does show that there are people out there who are excited about Sanders’ brand of progressive politics.

It’s that excitement Sanders’ campaign expects in Maine today, where he’ll hold a town hall-style event at the Cross Insurance Arena (formerly the Cumberland County Civic Center) in Portland at 7 p.m. The forum was moved from its originally scheduled location at the smaller Ocean Gateway due to demand, according to Sanders’ campaign. Thousands are expected to attend.

Sanders, like most candidates, is angling for a top finish in New Hampshire, site of the nation’s first primary. The Portland media market overlaps with much of southern New Hampshire, and the additional supporters, donors and new coverage that can be gained by a quick detour to Maine’s largest city — just a couple hours from the New Hampshire border — make the brief detour worthwhile for upstart candidates like Sanders.

Sanders is the second candidate to bring 2016 presidential politics to Maine in less than a week. On Wednesday, Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie came to Portland to receive an endorsement from Maine Gov. Paul LePage. — Mario Moretto, BDN.

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Victory in Vancouver

The United States' Alex Morgan, Lauren Holiday, Abby Wambach and Whitney Engen clutch the World Cup for dear life after winning their sport's top trophy last night in Vancouver. TNS photo by Vaughn Ridley.

What better way is there to cap a weekend all about American pride than watching the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team lift the World Cup after a thrilling final in Vancouver?

None. There is no better way.

If you missed the match, check out this one-minute video of all the goals — including  Carli Lloyd chipping the Japanese goalkeeper from the half-way line to grab a hat trick.

When you’re done, reflect upon bald eagles, apple pie, Captain America and the 23 superstar athletes on the USWNT because today is a good day. — Mario Moretto, BDN.

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.