Good morning from Augusta, where we’re still watching for fallout from last Tuesday’s primary election.
On the Republican side, the race that has made the most noise was in Sagadahoc County, where Sen. Linda Baker, R-Topsham, a moderate, was ousted by the Gov. Paul LePage-endorsed Guy Lebida of Bowdoin by 40 votes.
It has led to a bit of a fracture in the party: Bowdoin’s Baker-supporting town Republican chairman quit after the result and Lance Dutson, a Republican strategist who has started a group critical of LePage, hit him for “sabotage” of the race and said it could cost the party the Maine Senate.
It’s a critical seat for Republicans, who hold a 20-15 edge in the Senate and may have had a tough enough path to holding onto that majority before Tuesday. Lebida has called for party unity, saying on Facebook that it’s “time to mend fences.”
But the premise from moderates is that Lebida, a staunch conservative, may not be able to beat Democrat Eloise Vitelli — who Baker beat in 2014 by five points only after a Green candidate siphoned off 10 percent of votes — in November in Sagadahoc County and Dresden, a district that leans Democratic.
Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, backed Baker, who he helped recruit for the 2014 race. But he put his best face forward in a Monday interview, saying Dutson is “much more pessimistic” about the party’s chances than he is.
“We feel bad that Senator Baker didn’t win,” Thibodeau said, “but the people have chosen Mr. Lebida, so I’m sure he’s going to work hard.”
What he wouldn’t say is whether the party will back Lebida as much as they would have backed Baker, answering a question on that topic by saying, “We support every Republican candidate.”
That’ll be something worth scrutinizing as November approaches. — Michael Shepherd
- The U.S. Senate is expected to vote Monday on four gun control bills after the shooting that killed 49 earlier this month at an Orlando gay club. Here’s USA Today’s look at the four bills, none of which are expected to pass.
- U.S. Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent, was on NPR’s “Morning Edition” on Monday for a thoughtful discussion about polarization and hit presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s political experience, saying “If I have a problem with my plumbing, you know, I want a guy who’s seen a pipe before.”
- The deadline to request recounts in the Maine primary races that were held last Tuesday is tomorrow. The only one that has been requested is in the Republican primary in Maine’s 1st Congressional District, where Mark Holbrook looks to have beaten Ande Smith by 55 votes.
- LePage’s next town hall meeting will be at Richmond High School on Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Michael Shepherd
- Why do LePage and the NRCM keep fighting? — Christopher Cousins, Bangor Daily News
- What Maine can expect from a Cain-Poliquin rematch — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- Judge: Husband of murdered woman made fake will that left him everything — Abigail Curtis, BDN
- What stands out about LePage’s approach to the economy: A focus on industries of the past — Christopher Burns, BDN
- Susan Collins leading effort to craft gun control compromise — Reuters
- LePage urges legislative leaders to call special session — Cousins
- Will pay bump be enough to keep Maine prison guards? — Mal Leary, MPBN
A Trump commercial you can’t un-see
I’ll forgo Craigslist to present you with something you need to see: A Japanese-style Trump propaganda commercial.
It starts with a girl stroking a picture of Trump, before she flies and skips through a Trump universe, getting a hug from the billonaire before he turns into a robot, flies into space and destroys the world.
It’s just the way to start your work week. Here’s your soundtrack. — Michael Shepherd