Good morning from Augusta. The big story Wednesday from Day 3 of the Republican National Convention was the speech from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in which he didn’t endorse former presidential rival Donald Trump, the party’s nominee.
The convention erupted in boos after it became apparent that there wouldn’t be an endorsement, Trump ended up going onto the floor before Cruz was done in an apparent attempt to take back the spotlight.
I’m not sure there are any winners here. The most apt observation came from Marc Caputo of POLITICO:
But while the Republican convention will wind down on Thursday, the Democrats are gearing up for their own convention next week in Philadelphia, and an extension of a Maine-led challenge to the party’s superdelegate rules will play out this weekend.
At the state convention in May, Maine was the first state to pass a rule change that would blunt the impact of superdelegates — the Democratic officials who make up 15 percent of presidential delegates but aren’t assigned to a particular candidate, unlike normal delegates — in future elections.
At least 17 other states followed. The changes were supported by Democratic underdog Bernie Sanders, who blamed superdelegates for stacking the deck against him in the race against Hillary Clinton, who will be nominated next week.
She would have won the nomination numerically without them, but you can argue that they helped create an air of inevitability around her election.
In Maine, the rule change would make Maine’s five superdelegates disclose their preference by the state convention, allowing the party to reallocate the rest of the delegates according to the statewide vote.
But the national fight against superdelegates will begin at the convention’s Rules Committee meeting on Saturday, where NBC News reported that 43 of the committee’s 187 members have backed an amendment floated on behalf of Maine state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, that would abolish superdelegates.
That’s not enough to change the rules, but the issue could be in for a floor fight and it could put Maine’s delegation in the spotlight next week.
UPDATE: Russell said Thursday morning that 52 of the Rules Committee’s members now support considering the amendment, which would exceed the 46 required to allow a minority report from the committee. — Michael Shepherd
- The initial hearing in Attorney General Janet Mills’ Freedom of Access Act case against the LePage administration will be on Monday at 8:30 a.m. in Kennebec County court. It stems from an April meeting of a blue ribbon education commission at the Blaine House that was closed to the public and press. On Wednesday, MPBN published text messages in which administration officials discussed keeping the meeting closed. Our own Chris Cousins was one of the reporters that LePage’s education chief didn’t want in the room.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald will be at the Augusta Civic Center on Thursday. He’ll be speaking at the Maine Military and Community Network’s annual conference on a department plan to enhance links between the VA, other health care providers and veteran groups. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District, will speak and meet privately with McDonald in the morning.
- Poliquin again refused comment on Trump at a business stop in Hartland on Wednesday. “I don’t get involved in the presidential election,” he told the Morning Sentinel. “They’re doing that in Cleveland.” — Michael Shepherd
- Ethics panel fines Portland legislator $500 after email list complaint — Michael Shepherd, Bangor Daily News
- After a 30-year search, will new relations with Cuba help Mainer finally find her missing father? — Abigail Curtis, BDN
- George Mitchell optimistic about nation’s future despite mood of electorate — Judy Harrison, BDN
- Lower turnout, no majority support: Here’s how ranked-choice voting has worked in US cities — Christopher Burns, BDN
- Frustrated Belfast council proceeds with eminent domain to cross McCrum land — Curtis
- Opponents crowd I-395-Route 9 connector meeting — Dawn Gagnon, BDN
- The unexpected price of reporting abuse: Retaliation — Jenn Abelson, Bella English, Jonathan Saltzman and Todd Wallack, Boston Globe
- Secret Service investigates Trump adviser who said Clinton should be executed — David A. Fahrenthold, The Washington Post
After all, this is Trump’s Republican National Convention, so Scott Baio and one of those guys from “Duck Dynasty” were invited to speak. But Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, a Cruz delegate, was around for a behind-the-scenes moment.
After meeting Maine native and UFC President Dana White, who spoke at the convention on Tuesday, Mason posted on Facebook that he was around when WWE mogul and two-time Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon came up to White and introduced herself.
In honor of that, here’s a long video of the time McMahon drank beers with and was eventually (and badly) stunned by Stone Cold Steve Austin. Here’s a short version. And because I couldn’t leave you without one, here’s your soundtrack. — Michael Shepherd