A post-nomination challenge for Clinton: Rallying Maine’s left

Good morning from Portland, where I spotted this flyer aiming to convert Bernie Sanders supporters to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on my way through Monument Square to grab coffee.

It was jarring after the unity-fest that was yesterday’s Democratic National Convention, which culminated with Hillary Clinton accepting the nomination and contrasting her “steady leadership” with Republican nominee Donald Trump, who she painted as petulant and unprepared.

What it all means for Maine is uncertain. The state’s Democrats went hard for Sanders at the March caucuses. Democrats also picked Barack Obama over Clinton in 2008. The state hasn’t backed a Republican in a presidential election since 1988, but surveys have shown a potentially close race between Trump and Clinton here this year.

Maine’s Sanders delegates have been at the forefront of change at the convention: State Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, pushed changes at the state convention that led to a national change weakening the Democrats’ much-maligned system of “superdelegates,” then gave a unity speech for Clinton on Monday.

That seemed to be a general mood of the delegation after Clinton’s speech.

“The possibilities for every woman and little girl are now expanded,” said Diane Denk, a Sanders delegate from Kennebunk, in a statement. “We will always remember where we were on this momentous night.”

Attorney General Janet Mills, a Clinton delegate, called the convention “energizing, thoughtful (and) historic, saying there was “an atmosphere of confidence and patriotism in the room” on Thursday.

“She’s exactly the leader America and the world needs at this time and place in the arc of our history,” said Cynthia Dill, a former state senator and Clinton delegate from Cape Elizabeth.

But it’s not all kumbaya. Dill was being criticized on the left for her Sunday column in the Portland Press Herald in which she called some on the left “bozos” with “resentment of success.”

Seth Berner, a Sanders delegate from Portland, said that summed up the convention for him, saying he felt that his ilk were “not welcome” and “it is not our event.”

Liz Smith, a Sanders delegate from Camden, said, “Clinton’s speech felt like the same old lip service” and “I’m still waiting for the olive branch to materialize here.”

But Smith said she’s “leaving Philadelphia today with Maine on my mind,” and she hopes that disillusioned progressives won’t neglect state legislative races, naming Maine Senate candidate Troy Jackson of Allagash and Sen. David Miramant of Camden as two Democrats that must be elected in November.

“I’m hoping we can still get out the vote and that even those who refuse to vote Clinton will see the importance of sticking with our local down-ballot Democrats,” Smith said.

It’s a situation worth monitoring. Stein got more than 1 percent of the Maine vote in 2012. If she gets more in 2016, it could affect the Clinton-Trump race. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, a top Clinton surrogate, will campaign for her in Portland todayThe head of the group that helps elect pro-choice Democratic women will join U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of the 1st District and her daughter, former Maine House Speaker Hannah Pingree, at Coffee By Design on Diamond Street from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • A Republican super PAC is using 2nd Congressional District candidate Emily Cain’s ties against her. The Congressional Leadership Fund, which has close ties to House GOP leaders, announced a website tying Cain to “careless Hillary Clinton,” a reference to FBI Director James Comey’s assessment of Clinton’s email practices. Cain, who endorsed Clinton in both the 2008 and 2016 primaries, is running a heavily targeted 2016 rematch against U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin. A June poll from the Portland Press Herald said 64 percent of 2nd District voters found Clinton unfavorable to 57 percent for Trump.
  • Members of Maine’s congressional delegation and the Obama administration will announce specifics on a federal economic development team for rural Maine on Friday. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King asked the U.S. Department of Commerce to assemble a special team to identify assets, challenges and opportunities to diversify economies wracked by mill closures. Collins, King, Poliquin and others will announce grants to support new initiatives and discuss the team’s goal of expanding Maine’s forest economy at a 2:30 p.m. event at the University of Maine in Orono. — Michael Shepherd

Correction: The time of the Clinton event today in Portland was misstated in the original post. It has been corrected.

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • Vitamin D-saster: “I came in like usual to buy my chocolate milk and you wasn’t in,” says a male patron of the Cumberland Farms store in Gorham to a female employee.
  • We all need a muse: Ladies, do I have the opportunity for you: “A nationally known love poet” is “looking for a muse.” But he’s not looking for a romantic relationship or “anything illicit.” If he were, would he say?
  • A heck of a deal: Someone in southern Maine is “mediocre at best at singing, playing guitar and at playing bass,” so they need help on basically every aspect of making a song. How do you get paid? “Well a thanks of course and while I haven’t actually sold any songs yet, could pay you in IOU’s for any song I would possibly sell in the future that you preform on.” — 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.