Lewiston mayoral candidate Chin scores major endorsement from national group

Good morning folks, and happy Dec. 1. Reminder: There are only 390 shopping days left until Christmas 2016.

Action at the State House will likely be slow for the holiday season, but as my colleague Mike Shepherd explained in yesterday’s Daily Brief, there will be a steady drip of events this week. Today, a commission that has been examining revenue from timber harvesting on state lands meets and is likely to put the final touches on recommendations it is developing around Gov. Paul LePage’s plan to use some of the revenue to pay for a home energy program for low-income Mainers.

The panel is not expected to endorse LePage’s proposal, but you already knew that, thanks to Mike. That is likely to anger LePage, who for months has been blocking the sale of voter-approved conservation bonds for the Land for Maine’s Future program until the Legislature accepts his timber-harvesting plan. — Christopher Cousins

Lewiston mayoral candidate Chin wins national endorsement

Democracy for America announced this morning that it has endorsed Ben Chin in the Lewiston mayoral election, which goes to a runoff vote one week from today. Chin is challenging incumbent Mayor Robert Macdonald in a race that gained statewide and national attention when a property owner posted signs against Chin that were widely seen as racist. Macdonald has said repeatedly he was not involved in putting up the signs, nor did he support them.

The effect of some endorsements on elections is questionable, but Democracy for America carries some weight. The group has a million members nationally, including more than 8,300 in Maine. Since its founding in 2004, DFA has contributed more than $32 million to candidates and made more than 10 million phone calls on behalf of some 830 candidates.

What exactly the group will do for Chin is unclear, but it started with a fundraising email blast to DFA members with a subject line that reads “MAINE: Fight back against right-wing hate.”

“The hate and bigotry that has taken over the Republican Party — exemplified by Donald Trump — has come to Maine,” starts the email from Jim Dean, Democracy for America’s chairman.

Chin’s campaign is already flush with cash. In the last month alone, he has raised $24,200 — bringing his total close to $88,000 — compared to a total of about $5,800 for Macdonald.

On Nov. 3, Chin came out on top of a field of five candidates, beating second-place Macdonald by about 570 votes, though Chin failed to garner 50 percent of the vote as is required in Lewiston. That is what led to next week’s runoff election, which will include just Chin and Macdonald. — Christopher Cousins

Chellie Pingree celebrates demise of weed-killing product

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree on Monday celebrated a win on what has been marquee issue of hers for years: reducing the amount of chemicals and genetic modifications associated with the nation’s food supply.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced recently that it has withdrawn its approval of a herbicide made by Dow Chemical called Enlist Duo. Pingree has been a vocal opponent of the product as well as genetically modified corn and soybeans that were developed to withstand it. In June 2014, she co-authored a letter to the EPA, which was signed by 49 members of Congress, calling for an end to the use of Enlist Duo.

Pingree said in a written statement Monday that keeping Enlist Duo out of circulation will require a prolonged effort.

“I will keep pushing the EPA to keep this product off the shelves for good,” she said. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Another reason to love or hate the New York Yankees

New York Yankees all-star first baseman Mark Teixeira is stepping into the presidential campaign by throwing his support behind Republican hopeful Marco Rubio. According to the Daily Beast, Teixeira is part of a host committee for a $2,700-a-plate dinner fundraiser for Rubio this week with New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley.

Most of us baseball fans from Maine are always looking for another reason to hate the Yankees, though this could actually warm you to the Bronx Bombers, depending on your thoughts about Rubio. Just don’t let me catch you in pinstripes. — 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.