Who will Poliquin back for U.S. House speaker?

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives were expected to meet behind closed doors today to pick their candidate for speaker ahead of a formal floor vote near month’s end, but that was upended by a massive turn of events.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California was the favorite to succeed John Boehner of Ohio, who announced his retirement last month, but McCarthy dropped out of the race abruptly on Thursday afternoon. Jason Chaffetz of Utah and Daniel Webster of Florida are also running.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of the 2nd District, who will be the only Mainer in that caucus, hasn’t said who he’d vote for. An afternoon tweet didn’t shed any light on that: Poliquin said he won’t back Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for speaker, but the Republican who will “create jobs” and “reform welfare” in his district.

Poliquin has ties to leadership: Both Boehner and McCarthy campaigned with him in 2014 and Boehner raised money with Poliquin on Mount Desert Island earlier this year.

Given that, McCarthy might have been the best bet for Poliquin’s vote. Now, Boehner has postponed the vote and the situation for Poliquin — and just about every other member of Congress — is even more unsettled. — Michael Shepherd

Note: This post was updated Thursday afternoon after McCarthy dropped out of the speaker’s race.

Gun debate coming to … the Augusta City Council?

The Augusta Police Department has between 60 or 80 seized guns in its possession and at tonight’s meeting, the City Council will decide whether to sell or destroy them, according to the Kennebec Journal.

City Manager William Bridgeo told the newspaper that Augusta has guns ranging from “pea shooters” to those that could be worth thousands of dollars. Citing past precedent in other cities, Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills said the city could sell the guns to a licensed dealer, have an auction or destroy them.

In August, Honolulu officials decided to destroy $575,000 in guns, which drew condemnation from the National Rifle Association and other gun advocates who say perfectly good guns should be sold. Some in law enforcement argue that police shouldn’t put more guns on the streets.

Even in Maine, this has been controversial: In 2000, Saco city councilors voted 4-3 to allow to sale of 26 seized guns to the highest bidder. If that happens in Augusta, Bridgeo told the KJ that the money will go into the city’s General Fund.

We’ll see if it generates heat. So far, one person who posts on As Maine Goes, a conservative forum, said he’ll be there. — Michael Shepherd

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Rolled by BDN lobster quiz

I’m usually pretty good at our quizzes here at the BDN. I like to think my random knowledge is one of the reasons why my bosses pay me.

I’m best at the news quizzes (and I should be), but I can hang at Maine history and name the state’s cities, too. But colleague Seth Koenig stumped me today on lobster trivia. I only got half the questions right.

I’m going to chalk it up to being kind of a bad Mainer. I don’t really like lobster. It’s just a middling meal for me, and I usually leave it for people who like it better. Pass the steak. — Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.