Final Cain-Poliquin debate doesn’t cover much new ground

Good morning from Augusta, where we’re watching the final sprint in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District after U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Democrat Emily Cain wrapped up their third and final debate with WCSH and WLBZ on Wednesday.

The half-hour time slot didn’t leave much time to cover new ground. Then again, this re-run of Poliquin and Cain’s 2014 campaign hasn’t been much different than the last one, with a mostly predictable array of attacks and non-answers.

Poliquin, a Republican, has been a laser-focused messenger campaign-long, ducking questions about whether he supports Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump while trying to paint Cain as an “extreme liberal.”

Cain has been more forceful this time around after a campaign two years ago that she has admitted may have been slow to respond to Republican attacks. She has been better at that this time, going on the attack earlier in debates to paint him as a friend to Wall Street and reliably retorting after Poliquin digs.

This is more of what we got on Wednesday. “Until Election Day” seems to be the answer to a question that a headline of mine posed back in August on how long Poliquin, a Republican, could avoid questions on Trump.

But it wasn’t for lack of trying from moderator Pat Callaghan, who tried several times on Wednesday to bait Poliquin, who began a non-answer with, “Nice try, Pat.” Cain stood by her support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and hit Poliquin for “evasiveness.”

For his part, Poliquin focused heavily in the final debate on Cain’s support of a carbon tax, which has been a campaign issue since 2014.

He said it would raise energy prices and “kill manufacturing jobs,” even though she’s never expressed support for a specific carbon tax proposal. Cain spokesman Dan Gleick said Cain would “be open to looking at proposals, the point being that they can take many different forms.”

If you’ve been paying attention, you know all of this already and probably know which way you’re voting in 12 days. — Michael Shepherd

Trump co-chairman: Mainers may be ‘surprised’ by vote haul here

With Trump making his fifth trip to Maine for a Friday rally in Lisbon, his campaign is puffing up his uncertain chances to win at least one of our four Electoral College votes.

Trump’s campaign is faltering nationally: It’s more than 5 points behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the latest Real Clear Politics average and FiveThirtyEight would give Clinton an 85 percent chance of winning an election held today.

Her chance of winning Maine’s two statewide Electoral College votes is similar. But all eyes are on the toss-up 2nd District, where one elector is up for grabs and the site’s model has Clinton at just over a 52 percent chance to win.

But Trump campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis told WGAN on Thursday that even though his candidate is down in the polls, “we may be surprised by some of the results, especially up your way.”

The Republican’s trip to Lisbon for a 3 p.m. rally at Open Door Christian Academy, a private and nonprofit school affiliated with a Baptist church, is unique. In his past three trips, he has held large rallies in Portland and Bangor, but the school’s gymnasium can only hold 1,000 people, according to the Sun Journal— Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • The Bangor Daily News’ 2016 election page is now liveIt’ll be where you get Maine’s best set of results on election night. But it can also help you now, because you can click on individual legislative candidates’ name to see responses to our 16-question survey and their electoral histories. Approximately 170 of Maine’s 360 candidates responded, disappointingly.
  • The Maine Senate’s ethics committee is meeting this morning to discuss two Republican senators’ reimbursement issues. It comes after Democrats on Monday flagged legislative travel reimbursements in 2014 and 2015 to Andre Cushing of Newport and Ronald Collins of Wells that were initially billed to political committees. Both senators asked for an expedited hearing and said they didn’t think they broke legislative rules. The five-person committee will meet at 9 p.m. on the State House’s fourth floor.
  • Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes is selling $78,000 in gold. On Monday, the office plans to auction off 103 $10 Gold Eagle coins that came to the state via the Unclaimed Property Program. Prospective bidders can contact the treasurer’s office to sign up. — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • He wants to take you to a metal show, not babysit you: A Bangor man is looking for a woman to take to a metal show in Worcester, but “if youre a drunk and need babysitting by the end of the night…ahhhh sorry NO.” Here’s one of the songs he might be hearing.
  • Love in this sub: A man who was “eating a sub by myself” at the Bridgton House of Pizza may have been “staring a little too much” at the “dirty blonde waiting for your pizza talking on your cell” who he deemed “HOT !!!” and “Very Attractive !!!” — 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.