Democrats blast Poliquin for 2nd-best donation haul from banking sector

Happy Friday from Augusta, on the eve of the last weekend before school starts for many Maine kiddos. If you’re a parent (or not), make the most of this weekend. I’ve got two boys starting on Tuesday, including a kindergartner who’s growing much too fast. Here’s a song to put us in the mood to let our children brush our rock ‘n roll hair this weekend.

I’m thinking of buying an epic number of water balloons today and not telling my boys about them until the battle is on and I have all the ammo. Because that’s the kind of dad I am. 

Is it quitting time yet? 

Poliquin raking in Wall Street cash

Last year, just a few weeks after the election, we reported here at State & Capitol how Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, had been named to the House Committee on Financial Services, and how that appointment was a signal that Republicans saw him as a rising star and that they want him focused on his 2016 re-election bid.

Being named to the committee was due in part to his financier past, but the banking committee is also one of the plum positions from which House members can collect campaign donations. In 2013, for example, a Politico analysis of Federal Election Commission data showed that the 11 then-freshmen on the committee raised an average of more than $320,000 in the second quarter of 2013, which was $100,000 more than the average haul for all other House freshmen.

So, it should come as little surprise to see that Poliquin is raking in the cash. In fact, among 17 races for next year that are considered by several political publications to be “toss-ups,” Poliquin ranks second in terms of the percentage of his donations coming from Wall Street, according to an analysis by

About 12 percent of Poliquin’s total — $132,000 — is from the banking and finance industries. That’s second only to Republican Illinois Rep. Robert Dold, who brought in $162,000, which is 13 percent of his total, from private equity firms, investment banks, hedge funds and other Wall Street sources.

According to FEC records, Poliquin took in slightly more than $1 million in the first half of 2015 and is sitting on a campaign bank account of nearly $950,000.

Former state senator Emily Cain, who has been campaigning for a rematch against Poliquin, used the analysis to attack Poliquin in a fundraising email as being a “friend of Wall Street, not of hardworking Mainers.” The Maine Democratic Party was circulating a similar message on Thursday.

FEC records show that Cain raised about $287,000 between January and June of this year and reported $238,000 in cash on hand.

While these totals mean little more than a year in advance of the election and several months before the real campaign spending starts, there’s no question that Cain has some catching up to do, or what one of her arguments against Poliquin’s re-election will be. There’s also no question, based on these numbers, that Republican donors see the likelihood of another win next year in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

Standish-area House seat to be filled in Nov. 3 special election

The Nov. 3 special election will be twice as special as originally planned. Already on the ballot was the Sanford-area House seat, which was left vacant earlier this year with the death of Democratic Rep. Bill Noon.

Then last week, fourth-term Rep. Mike Shaw, D-Standish, announced that because of his job, he has to move away from Standish and resign from his House seat. On Thursday, Gov. Paul LePage and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced that Nov. 3 will also be the date for that election.

Democrats, Green Independents and Republicans have until Sept. 14 to choose candidates through a caucus process. Petitions for non-party candidates are also due Sept. 14 and write-in candidates have until Sept. 25.

Reading list

More about my water balloon plan

So maybe if you read the opening item in today’s Daily Brief, you’re still incredulous at the cruelty of me stocking up on water balloons this weekend and waging a one-sided surprise attack on my sons (I’ll make sure the water is COLD, too).

There’s a reason.

Two nights ago, my kids begged my wife and me to play a game of hide-and-seek, which is one of our favorite bedtime activities. We usually turn off all the lights in the house and each take turns hiding in the inky blackness. It’s a nerve-wracking experience, thanks to me teaching them years ago that the correct way to play is for the hider to scream as loud as possible and scare everyone as soon as he or she is discovered.

So, on Wednesday night, it was my turn to hide. We long ago exhausted the list of new hiding places in the house so I’m always looking for ways to spice up the game. I hid in the bathtub, standing behind the partially closed shower curtain, and waited. The twist: I had a full cup of water in my hand with plans to drench whoever discovered me. (Yes, it was cold.)

I couldn’t see my 5-year-old coming but I could hear him. I waited until I thought he was just about to see me and I flung the water. It didn’t work out as planned. I soaked the towel rack, the linen closet, the toothpaste, the toothbrushes, my wife’s hair care materials (she didn’t say anything about it, but didn’t need to), our bathmats, the sink and a sweeping portion of the wall. I totally missed the 5-year-old. It was an utter failure on my part, causing my older son to say over and over again, “I can’t believe you were really trying to dump water on us, dad.”

Which is the “why” of my water balloon scheme: They need to believe. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.