Maine casts most votes for Sanders on a day of pro-Clinton unity

Good morning from Augusta, where we’re keeping an eye on Maine’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention this week.

The convention nominated Clinton on Tuesday, after her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders, made the motion that crowned her in a historic display of party unity. The day was headlined by a speech from former President Bill Clinton.

Maine’s delegation has stayed strong in support of Sanders: Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett took the microphone on Tuesday to announce 18 votes for Sanders to Clinton’s 12 Maine delegates.

There were protests from Sanders supporters, however, and some Maine delegates still aren’t enthralled with their candidate.

When asked by the Portland Press Herald if she was happy with Clinton, Maine State Nurses Association President Cokie Giles, a Sanders delegate from Brewer, said, “Hell, no.”

Clinton will accept the nomination in a speech Thursday. We may have to wait until then to see how some Sanders backers will take to her. — Michael Shepherd

Old attacks creep back in Poliquin-Cain race

The heavily targeted race in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District between U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, and Democrat Emily Cain, is looking a lot like 2014.

That isn’t just because the candidates are the same; the attacks are familiar, too. While Cain has been aggressively messaging against Poliquin for about a year, the congressman has tried to keep the focus on his work in Washington.

But this week, he resurrected an old 2009 state budget argument against Cain, saying she voted to “increase your fees and to increase your boat registration cost.”

Eagle-eyed observers will remember this argument from Poliquin’s 2014 primary against Kevin Raye. The problem is that it ignores crucial context, which I handled in a Portland Press Herald fact-check two years ago.

These changes were in a state budget, supported in the Senate by all but two Republicans. David Trahan, who is now the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, backed it as a Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife budget fix.

For her part, Cain has also been hammering on a well-worn attack: Poliquin’s use of “a tax loophole to get out of paying property taxes.” That issue also demands re-explanation, as it has dogged Poliquin since 2012, during his stint as state treasurer.

He owns a 12-acre oceanfront estate in coastal Georgetown, valued by the town at $3.4 million, and he once had 10 acres of the property in a state tax-break program aimed at protecting commercial forestries, even though a deed restriction largely prohibits timber harvesting on his property.

Poliquin’s was cited in a 2009 state report as an example of “problematic enrollment.” He wasn’t penalized and broke no law, but he pulled out of that program in 2012 and was paying the full share of taxes on the rest of the property. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • Does Trump have a path to victory through Maine? The New York Times noodled on potential Electoral College maps making for a Trump victory, with one having the one elector from Maine’s 2nd District pulling him to a 270-268 victory over Clinton. To do that, he’d have to lose Pennsylvania and win five other swing states, so the map is unlikely. But polling has shown that Trump could have an edge in the 2nd District, even though Maine has never split its presidential vote.
  • House Speaker Mark Eves continues his listening tour on aging issues with a stop in Harpswell on Wednesday. The outgoing Democrat from North Berwick will visit the Elijah Kellogg Church from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight. He has stopped previously in Auburn and Kennebunk on the tour, which looks tailor-made to elevate his political profile and counter Gov. Paul LePage.
  • Speaking of LePage, his South Paris town hall is tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • It’s too hot for this: A man in Portland’s West End was “looking to start the weekend with a cutie worth canoodlin’,” suggesting ordering some food and hanging out “in our skivvies” in the 92-degree heat. But my apartment has been too hot for human-to-human contact lately.
  • Preteen dream: “Did you mean to play footsie under the table with me at the party Sunday?” a Westbrook man asks. Probably not. Here’s your soundtrack.
  • Good misdirection: “LOOKING FOR STRIPPERS,” an ad blares. Unfortunately, it’s not as funny as I’d hoped — just a writer researching a story on strippers. — Michael Shepherd
Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.