I’ll start today (and probably many more days between now and November) with the Republican front-runner.
Last week, House Speaker Paul Ryan previewed an upcoming Republican policy agenda called “A Better Way.” Details will be released in the coming weeks, but it’ll cover poverty, jobs, taxes national security, health care and the structure of government.
This came just after the Wisconsin speaker endorsed Trump for the first time in his hometown newspaper, with Ryan saying he’s “confident” that Trump would help us turn the ideas in this agenda into laws to help improve people’s lives.”
Maine observers should recognize this argument. It’s the same one that was made by U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from Maine’s 2nd District, in an audiotape leaked to progressive activist and Bangor Daily News blogger Mike Tipping in May.
Poliquin hasn’t formally endorsed the divisive Trump — only releasing a statement praising his status as the race’s only “job creator” — and has avoided questions on the presumptive nominee.
However, he told a conservative group last month in Portland that Trump’s “not a policy person” and that he’ll leave a lot of the conservative policymaking up to the House. It seems that these Mainers had a bit of an inside scoop from Poliquin, and his prediction seems to be coming into focus, if not coming true.
But as this happens, Democrats will work double-time to link Poliquin to Trump as the freshman runs a hotly contested rematch against Democrat Emily Cain in 2016. So, Trump will loom over Maine politics for the rest of this year, too. — Michael Shepherd
Same-name pols in Romania and Maine
Our eagle-eyed editor, Robert Long, flagged this POLITICO item for us about a confusing election in Romania, where three unrelated men named Vasile Cepoi are running for mayor of the same village.
Maine hasn’t seen anything like this — at least recently. In 2013, the Morning Sentinel reported that a husband and wife ran against each other for a warden position in Waterville, which got national media attention.
There have been legislators with similar names, including David C. Burns and David R. Burns, Republicans who served together in the Maine House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012.
David C. Burns, of Whiting, is a former state trooper who went on to serve two terms in the Senate and is leaving office this year. The tenure of David R. Burns, of Alfred, didn’t go well.
He resigned in 2012 and was later sentenced to jail time for violating Maine election law in ways that a member of the Maine Ethics Commission called “mind-boggling.” He pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor theft counts and three misdemeanor forgery counts.
So, one David Burns was a cop, the other a crook. But at least they never ran against each other. — Michael Shepherd
- Independent Mike Turcotte, who ran a short-lived campaign this year for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District that included a $12 billion plan to build two nuclear power plants in Penobscot County, has filed to run as an independent for a state House seat in Bangor. He faces Democratic Rep. Victoria Kornfield and Republican challenger Gary Capehart.
- Gov. Paul LePage will appear at a re-election fundraiser for Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, on Monday night. The freshman is the top Republican on the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, and while party leaders have had difficult relations with LePage over the past year, he’s been a key surrogate on welfare for the governor. He’s running against Democrat Kimberly Sampson and the Bangor Daily News has rated his seat as one that leans Republican in 2016. — Michael Shepherd
- The campaign to lead Maine’s next Legislature quietly unfolds — Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
- In general election, Trump sees a chance to make Maine red again — Christopher Burns, BDN
- Portland boxing club owner who witnessed legendary Lewiston fight remembers Muhammad Ali — Beth Brogan, BDN
- Why it’s easier to be prescribed an opioid painkiller than treatment for opioid addiction — Jeffrey Hom and Krisda H. Chaiyachati, The Conversation
- Senior Republicans criticize Donald Trump’s remarks about Hispanic judge — Ginger Gibson and Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters
- Most Americans are libertarian but don’t know it, presidential candidate says — Shobhana Chandra, Bloomberg News
- Maine drive-in patrons fume over smoking ban — Scott Thistle, Sun Journal
- Panama Papers show how rich United States clients hid millions abroad — Eric Lipton and Julie Creswell, The New York Times
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- Managers at the Yarmouth Hannaford should watch their grape section more carefully, because a man noticed a woman stealing some. It led to this poetic post:
“Your a very bad girl.
Looked like you have a system worked out
Your kind of hot though”