Good morning from Augusta, where filings from two groups looking to expand firearm background checks on Maine’s 2016 ballot show that they’re awash in much more cash from a group linked to Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire ex-mayor of New York City.
In April and May, filings with the Maine Ethics Commission show that the group, Everytown for Gun Safety — which is funding background check campaigns this year in both Maine and Nevada — gave nearly $2.3 million to two merging groups that have been funding the campaign here.
All told and including in-kind contributions, Everytown has given almost $3.6 million to the Maine effort since 2015, making up almost all of the funding for the effort, a point that has drawn criticism from gun-rights activists.
However, those forces are outgunned financially. The National Rifle Association is expected to lead opposition to the Maine effort, but their political action committee here had just under $31,000 at May’s end.
The Everytown-linked groups also have a cadre of operatives working on the issue. Filings show they’ve paid more than $95,000 for polling in April and May. They’ve hired Bernstein Shur, Augusta-based Maine Street Solutions, Portland-based Baldacci Communications and Republican operative Lance Dutson to work on the campaign.
The filings also show that one of the Everytown-backed groups has already reserved $1.4 million in fall TV advertising in Maine. Other campaigns have also been booking time, including another $2.1 million from party groups waging war in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District this year. Earlier bookings can mean cheaper rates, and it’s not clear that background check opponents will be able to rival that total.
The NRA recently installed a top Republican consultant and lobbyist to run its Nevada campaign, according to the blog Guns.com, so a similar move in Maine might not be far away. But they’ve got catching up to do. — Michael Shepherd
- U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, told POLITICO that he’ll continue caucusing with Democrats, but he didn’t say if he’d vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump. King’s coy response was: “I’m going to vote. And I’m going to decide how I’m going to vote. And chances are I will announce how I’m going to vote. I don’t anticipate that happening in the immediate future.”
- The Maine Medical Association said this week that it has delayed issuing a position on a marijuana legalization question on the statewide 2016 ballot amid some division among its ranks. A survey of 662 doctors found that 66 percent wanted the association to issue a position. If it did, 56 percent said they’d want it to oppose the question, compared to 31 percent who want to support it. The board now expects to consider a resolution on the issue in September.
- Gov. Paul LePage will host another town hall meeting at the Augusta Armory tonight from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. I’ll be there. Check bangordailynews.com for updates — if it demands them. — Michael Shepherd
- Video shows rotting chickens, inhumane conditions at Maine egg facility — Julia Bayly, Bangor Daily News
- Hailing a first, Clinton declares herself the Democratic nominee — James Oliphant, Reuters
- Hillary Clinton’s wins came by learning from mistakes — Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post
- Will Trump screw up everything we know about elections? — FiveThirtyEight
- Portland legislator’s fundraising haul ‘among’ the highest ever for Maine primary — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- Maine city puts moratorium on medical marijuana growing facilities — Liz Gotthelf, Journal Tribune
- Poverty, hunger lead to generation of ‘overweight but malnourished’ Mainers — Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- An “out of town, large, old, ugly, sarcastic, goofy guy” is looking for someone to go to a Portland Sea Dogs game with him on Saturday. He’ll buy the first beer and any age between 21 and “farting dust” is fine with him.
- Did you go fishing for mackerel, but come back with too many mackerel? This person will take them off your hands. If you want him to go fishing with you, he’ll share the cost of “gas, beverages and even 4:20 breaks.” Here’s his soundtrack, in honor of Ringo Starr’s Bangor concert tonight. — Michael Shepherd