Maine Democrats are still sorting out who will run for what in 2018

Good morning from quiet Augusta.

Following last week’s state shutdown drama, the holiday and the fact that July, for the most part, has been a breathtaking beauty so far, there’s not a lot of news to report. However, the BDN is ever at the ready to spring into action at any moment when news develops, so stay tuned.

The only items on the legislative calendar this week are a Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday, followed by Wednesday meetings of the Appropriations Committee and task force on opiate abuse. Lawmakers will have to return later this month to deal with some unfinished business, but other than the thrum of air conditioners, the quiet drone of state workers doing their jobs and people humming cruel Daily Brief soundtracks, the State House is quiet.

In the meantime, the Daily Brief brings you a few newsy tidbits and the reading list from over the weekend. We’ll be back tomorrow. — Christopher Cousins

Quick hits

Justin Alfond won’t run for governor. Former Democratic Sen. Justin Alfond of Portland has ended whatever suspense there was around the question of whether he will run for governor. He won’t. Alfond, who was on the speculative short list of possible 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidates, announced Friday on Facebook that he intends to concentrate on his family, his business and an effort to end childhood hunger in Maine through a program called Full Plates Full Potential. — Christopher Cousins

What is the future of the Maine Democratic Party? That’s the question that will be explored Thursday during an event hosted by a Bucksport-based group called the Maine Common Good Coalition. Party officials and past and present candidates will participate in a panel and audience discussion scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery at 306 Hatchery Road, off Route 1 in East Orland. — Christopher Cousins

More than $3.9 million in federal funding bound for Maine health centers. The U.S.Department of Health and Human Services has awarded $2.7 million to Katahdin Valley Health Center in Patten and nearly $1.2 million to Pines Health Services in Caribou, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King has announced. The money, from the Health Resources and Services Administration, is meant for public health programs, bolstering health care centers’ workforces and targeting people who economically and medically vulnerable, as well as geographically isolated. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Smile! This has got to be a first

We’ve seen political parties and politicians in Maine use a lot of unique tactics to make money. Visits from B-list celebrities and sports figures and every manner of twisting recent news to fit a fundraising pitch are commonplace.

But a free dental cleaning?

That’s the prize for the Maine Republican Party’s latest raffle. For $5 you can win a chance to have party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas (yes, she’s a real dentist) clean your teeth.

For those of you who don’t like going to the dentist, this probably sounds like the worst “prize” ever. For the thrifty among you, it’s brilliant.

Let’s be glad she’s not a proctologist. Here’s your soundtrack.Christopher Cousins

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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.