Susan Collins did not OK her appearance in Clinton’s new anti-Trump ad

Good morning from Augusta, where non-endorsements can be more influential on a candidate’s campaign than an endorsement.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign has launched a new advertisement that lines up a number of Republicans who oppose Republican nominee Donald Trump. Maine Sen. Susan Collins is featured in it, delivering the “I just cannot support Donald Trump” kicker before the screen yields to a title card that reads “Unfit, Dangerous, even for Republicans.”

Some of the other critiques of Trump such as “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot” are left to Sen. Lindsey Graham and former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who calls him a fraud.

Collins made waves in early August when she announced she would not endorse Trump because he “does not reflect historical Republican values.” The announcement put Maine’s senior senator on a growing list of elected Republicans who came out publicly against Trump. Collins had to have known that her words would be repeated loudly and widely and probably, now that this ad is up, extensively through Election Day.

That’s on Nov. 8. (Daily Brief, at your service.)

A spokeswoman for Collins told the Bangor Daily News this morning that Collins did not authorize the use of her words or image in the ad and reiterated that Collins will not vote for Trump or Clinton.

What’s the state of the presidential race less than two months out? Funny you should ask. New poll results from the Morning Consult, which surveyed about 1,710 likely voters Sept. 6-8, found Clinton still with the edge against Trump nationally, 41 percent to 39 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson tallied 10 percent with Green candidate Jill Stein with 3 percent.

Among registered voters, the margins were essentially the same, with Clinton and Trump at 38 percent and 36 percent, respectively. You can read deeper into the poll results by clicking here.

As you know, national-level polls are of limited help, other than feeding your insatiable desire to know exactly the status of the presidential race. For that, however, you’re better off looking at state-level polls, particularly in battleground states. I’ll save you the suspense: The presidential race is tightening regardless of how you look at it.

Considering the bad weekend Clinton just had — including her dismissive comments about “half” of Trump’s supporters being “deplorable” and her having to leave a 9/11 ceremony Sunday with pneumonia, which will only fuel Trump supporters’ speculating about her health — the numbers are likely to draw even closer. — Christopher Cousins

Quick hits

  • Sad loss: James Mitchell of Vassalboro, a well-known judge of probate and attorney with political connections in Maine dating back to his service for Gov. Ken Curtis in the 1970s, died Sept. 9 at the age of 74. Mitchell, who was a Marine Corps captain in Vietnam, was a Bronze Star recipient. Mitchell was the husband of former state legislator and 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell. Read his obituary by clicking here.
  • Mining rules: The citizen-led Board of Environmental Protection will gather at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Augusta Civic Center to review proposed large-scale mining rules that would apply to all of Maine. New rules have been rejected twice by the Legislature, which passed a new mining law in 2012. The rules require legislative approval after they complete the BEP’s review process.
  • The fight goes on: Independent Rep. Jeff Evangelos of Friendship, whose appeal to Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to take steps to remove Gov. Paul LePage from office following recent controversies was rebuffed last week, isn’t done yet. Evangelos and some supporters of ousting LePage appealed Dunlap’s decision in a letter dated Friday. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Something awry in my gene pool

Whenever I go to the barber shop, I don’t know what to tell the barber so I resort to “make it shorter” or “take two months off” or “summer cut” regardless of what time of year it is. If he or she is lucky I’ll say, helpfully, “I just brush it straight back and let it dry.”

Then comes that awkward moment late in the haircut where the barber starts focusing attention on a cowlick I have on the back of my head, which sticks straight up no matter what.

“Don’t worry about it,” I say. “It’s just the way my hair is. I don’t care.”

My 11-year-old does care what his hair looks like. This morning he ran up to me and said “I just did my hair and it’s the best it’s ever looked in 11 years!”

He’s not like me. He “does his hair.” He uses “product.” He looks in the “mirror.”

I drove him and his little brother to school. They got out of the car and as they were walking away, I had to chuckle: Both boys’ hair was sticking up in the back, and at the same angle. The Cousins Cowlick strikes again. TWICE.

Here’s the Cousins family hair soundtrack. Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.