A Maine GOP heavyweight updated his photo. Is he running?

Editor’s note: Regular Daily Brief readers will notice that we’re rolling out a new format today. We’re making the newsletter shorter, breezier and (hopefully) more useful to you. As always, email politics@bangordailynews with feedback or tips. Now, on to the news.

Good morning from Augusta, where a prospective candidate taking a picture in front of what looks a flag doesn’t necessarily mean they’re running … yet.

A big-name Republican took that patriotic picture, but he’s still on ‘Team Collins.’ Lobbyist Josh Tardy of Newport, who has been considering a run to replace Gov. Paul LePage since last year, posed for a portrait in front of a flag backdrop on Wednesday. When asked by the BDN via text if he was preparing for a run, he replied with “Lol” and “I’m still on the collins team!” — meaning he’s waiting for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, the moderate Republican who is mulling a run and will decide by month’s end.

The intrigue? That portrait was taken by former Maine Republican Party Chairman Mark Ellis, a Collins loyalist who worked for Steve Abbott’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Abbott is Collins’ chief of staff. It made Democratic operative and D.C.-exiled Mainer Ben Goodman say “hmm” on Twitter.

The King of Horror almost certainly won’t run

Former Gov. John Baldacci wants author Stephen King to run for governor. “I would be out there handing out fliers and putting on bumper stickers for him,” the Democrat told The Washington Examiner this week. King is an outspoken Democrat, but this is a pipe dream. The Bangorian was a pushed to run in 2015 and issued a Shermanesque statement.


Nine months after the retirement of ConnectME Authority executive director Phil Lindley, his deputy, Lisa Leahy, has also stepped down and neither have been replaced as state officials consider whether the private sector might be able to improve Maine broadband access.

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and ConnectME issued such a request on Tuesday. A private entity chosen for this project would improve broadband access in the process of connecting state government offices and other public facilities.

Both moves could foretell changes for the state broadband investment agency. Gov. Paul LePage sought to bring ConnectME under DECD in his two-year budget plan.

Reading list

My wife’s potty mouth, in disguise

My family and I were watching “American Pickers” last night, a show where the characters search for antiques and other valuable items to purchase. In last night’s episode, they were visiting an eccentric artist who had a motorcycle that looked like a full-sized cow.

“That’d be a great motorcycle for you, babe,” I told my wife.

“It’s fugly,” she said.

“Mom!” said our 7-year-old. “You said a bad word.”

“I did NOT say a bad word,” she said.

That satisfied our son, but I cast what I’ll call a knowing grin at my wife.

“You shut up,” she said.

“Mom!” said the boy.  Here’s her soundtrack. — Christopher Cousins

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd and Christopher Cousins with Darren Fishell and edited by Robert Long. If you’re reading it on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to get Maine’s only newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings.

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.