This Republican lawmaker wants to be the youngest governor ever elected in Maine

Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason will announce a run for governor Wednesday, which will make the young conservative with deep ties to the state’s evangelical right the second Republican vying to replace Gov. Paul LePage.

Mason, 32, of Lisbon Falls announced late Monday that he’ll declare his run at an event at Lewiston’s Ironhorse Court Wednesday evening. He has publicly considered a run since late last year and in January, there were references to a run inserted as metadata on his website.

The four-term state senator joins former Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew of South China in the Republican field running for the Blaine House so far. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is also considering a bid and may be able to scatter Republicans and Democrats.

Mason was a lead engineer of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s Maine presidential caucus victory in 2016, but he later helped eventual Republican nominee Donald Trump organize a rally in Lisbon days before the election in which he beat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

It was Maine’s evangelical right that lifted Cruz to the caucus victory. That’s where Mason is popular, getting a lifetime 93 percent score from the American Conservative Union as of 2016.

Because turnout is generally low in Maine primaries, that conservative base has an outsized impact on Republican politics in Maine, helping LePage to his surprise primary victory in 2010 and Bruce Poliquin to his primary win in the 2nd Congressional District in 2014.

We’re expecting a wave of candidates to enter the race after Labor Day, which is a typical campaign kick-off point: Collins has promised that she’ll decide on her run by fall, while Lee Auto Malls Chairman Adam Lee of Cumberland and state Sen. Mark Dion of Portland are still considering joining a Democratic field that already has nine people in it.

Mason would be the youngest Maine governor ever elected, according to the Maine Law and Legislative Library, just edging out the fifth governor, Albion K. Parris, by Inauguration Day. He’s also more than 10 years younger than New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, the youngest state chief executive in the U.S. now.

But David Dunn was acting governor for two days in 1844 at age 32, so Mason wouldn’t be Maine’s youngest governor ever. Here’s your soundtrack. — Michael Shepherd


Quick hits

  • The backers of a southern Maine casino referendum have objected to how the ballot question is worded. Former Maine Attorney General Drew Ketterer, who is representing Progress For Maine, the company now running the casino bid, said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s wording of the casino question is “misleading, prejudicial and may lead reasonable voters to vote contrary to their wishes” in a written objection which was filed as part of the public comment period leading up to this fall’s referendum. Ketterer suggests eliminating a reference to “a certain out-of-state company” in the question and being more specific about where some of the revenues from the southern Maine casino would flow. Public comments on this question and another question, which will ask voters whether they want to expand Medicaid in Maine closed Sept. 1. Both questions will appear on the Nov. 7, 2017 ballot. — Christopher Cousins
  • Poliquin has introduced a bill that would provide headstones for veterans’ family members buried at tribal cemeteries. According to current law, government-furnished headstones are available only for burials at veterans cemeteries. Poliquin’s proposal would provide the headstones for eligible spouses and dependents at facilities such as the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Tribal Veterans Cemetery in Aroostook County. The bill will first go under consideration by the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, of which Poliquin is a member. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list


Why do I cry so easily as I grow older?

I watched the movie Major League over the weekend, which is supposed to be a raunchy comic romp but which left me in tears at the end when the beleaguered Cleveland Indians win the pennant against all odds.

I never used to cry at movies, even the ones designed to be tearjerkers, but now the tears flow during sappy commercials, any scene where an underdog triumphs and especially videos of deployed veterans coming home and surprising their families.

There are a few movies where an athlete’s spouse cheers him on that I can’t even watch. Rocky’s wife, Adrian Pennino, is an obvious example, as is depression-era boxer James J. Braddock’s wife Mae in the movie Cinderella Man: “You just remember who you are. … You’re the Bulldog of Bergen, and the Pride of New Jersey, you’re everybody’s hope and the kids’ hero, and you are the champion of my heart, James J. Braddock.”

Something in my eye over here.

There’s a movie that trumps them all, though, the soundtrack of which I used to blast on my headphones before high school football games and wrestling matches: Vision Quest. In that movie, underdog wrestler Lowden Swain (Matthew Modine) decides to cut weight so he can face musclebound Brian Shute, who everyone in the movie assumes will torture and kill him during the match. Lowden’s girlfriend, Carla, is among those who assume he’s a dead man walking, until she appears in the locker room before the match and tells him to “kick his ass.”

Sniff. So dusty in here. Here’s my soundtrack.Christopher Cousins


Programming note

Daily Brief will be on hiatus until Thursday. See you then.

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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.