Big Sanders win in Maine does not flip state’s Clinton superdelegates

Amid all the hustle over the weekend associated with the Republican and Democratic caucuses, the only result that matters is how many delegates Maine sends to the national conventions in July. On the Republican side, Ted Cruz can expect 12 Maine delegates, followed by Donald Trump with nine and John Kasich with two. Those totals correspond with the percentage vote each candidate received on Saturday.

The Maine Democratic Party has 25 delegates resulting from Sunday’s vote, plus five superdelegates who can support whoever they want at the Democratic National Convention. Three of those people, national committeewoman Maggie Allen, 1st District U.S. Rep Chellie Pingree and state party vice chairwoman Peggy Schaffer, have endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. National committeeman Troy Jackson has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett has not voiced a preference.

All three Clinton supporters said Monday that they will wait until the convention and support whoever has the majority of delegates going into the national convention.

“I am going to vote for the will of the American people,” said Allen. “I believe that by July 22 we will know what the delegate count is of the unpledged delegates.”

Schaffer and Pingree both said something similar.

“History shows clearly that the superdelegates support the national nominee,” said Schaffer. “I certainly will also.”

Based on current delegate counts and reasonable projections for upcoming primaries and caucuses, Clinton has a strong lead in the race to be party’s nominee. That means Pingree, Schaffer and Allen would likely cast convention votes for her, even though she lost the Maine caucuses by a wide margin to Sanders.

Jackson takes issue with that and says all five of Maine’s superdelegates should vote for the person who won the caucus: Bernie Sanders. He said he is trying to convince county-level Democratic committees to send resolutions to the state committee, supporting his position. He said he will cast his vote at the national convention for Sanders unless Sanders releases his delegates.

“If you’re representing the state of Maine as a superdelegate, you should be going the way of the voters,” said Jackson. “The voters of the Democratic Party told us very much who they wanted.”

In Augusta today, legislative committees are scrambling to move all their bills to the full Legislature for consideration with a long list of work sessions this afternoon. Among the bills that could receive recommendations today are LD 1622, Gov. LePage’s proposal to eliminate the estate tax, and some solid waste management laws that have been under debate for weeks.

The House and Senate are in this morning and have begun three-day-a-week sessions. That means the pace of bills being imposed or disposed of should accelerate. — Christopher Cousins

Workers from across Maine to descend on State House for Labor Lobby Day

Hundreds of workers from across the state will converge on the State House today for what is usually one of the most memorable spectacles of the legislative session: Labor Lobby Day. The hallway between the House and Senate will be full of workers and union officials telling lawmakers their priorities.

Among those priorities are raising the minimum wage through a question on the November ballot — and opposing a potential competing measure which was introduced recently — correcting chronic understaffing at Riverview Psychiatric Center, supporting the Stand Up for Students funding referendum on the November ballot and opposing the deregulation of Provider of Last Resort service to some landline telephone customers. — Christopher Cousins

Quick hits

  • The Maine Community College System Board of Trustees will vote on a new president today in Augusta. Derek Langhauser has been interim president since John Fitzsimmons resigned in January 2015 after Gov. Paul LePage publicly called for his resignation.
  • The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee heard hours of testimony Monday on a bill that involves the LePage administration’s proposal to implement a standardized test to help determine what level of care — and state spending — adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities need. According to press releases, DHHS has withdrawn its proposal to implement the test following sustained opposition from the public. DHHS said it will re-start the rulemaking proposal around these services in the coming months.

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What day is it again?

Last Thursday, I told you it was National I Want You to Be Happy Day, and I took that opportunity to flood you with compliments in an attempt to make you smile. I hope it worked. Today is Be Nasty Day. It opens the door for me to really lay into you, but I know better.

Instead, let’s talk a little about a joint resolution that appears in today’s Senate calendar the proclaims today Access to Justice Day. It’s an opportunity for us all to celebrate Maine’s civil legal aid providers and private practice attorneys who provide free services to those who can’t afford it. Kudos to y’all.

It’s also an opportunity to crank some Mellencamp. — 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.