Nibble on these Maine political morsels before the big meal

Good morning from Augusta on Thanksgiving Eve, when we hope you’re waiting for your pies to finish baking so you can get the birds into the oven. There isn’t much big news today, so we’re offering up a buffet of 2018 election tidbits. Here’s your soundtrack.

  • Former Portland Mayor Michael Brennan wants to go back to the Legislature. The Democrat said on Facebook that he’ll run to replace term-limited independent Rep. Denise Harlow, who represents western Portland. He hasn’t filed yet, but he called the 2018 election “an opportunity to reset priorities and move the state in a different direction.” Brennan was in the House of Representatives from 1992 to 2000 and in the Senate from 2002 to 2007. In 2011, he became Portland’s first elected mayor since 1923, but he lost his 2015 re-election bid to Ethan Strimling after warring with the City Council. Nobody else is running for Harlow’s seat yet.
  • A tribal state representative became a Green and says he’ll run for Maine’s 2nd District. Non-voting Rep. Henry John Bear of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians became the second Green in the Legislature on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Bear said in a news release that he’ll kick off a run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District later this week, saying he would work toward a “safer and more inclusive world community.” U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, already has nine other challengers. Lucas St. Clair and Jared Golden are his most likely Democratic challengers, but a libertarian and two unaffiliated candidates are also running longshot bids.
  • A Republican state senator’s primary challenger in Lincoln County dropped out of the 2018 race. Tea Party activist Gordon Colby of Waldoboro with leaves Sen. Dana Dow of Waldoboro alone in his quest to win the Republican nomination. That’s important because Dow is a first-term senator who won one of the chamber’s closest races in 2016 against Democratic incumbent Chris Johnson. With a one-seat advantage to, Republicans need all the certainty they can get in 2018. The biggest Republican primary now in the Senate is between Assistant House Minority Leader Ellie Espling of New Gloucester and Rep. Bruce Bickford of Auburn.
  • Ethan Weld Alcorn would be the fourth independent on the 2018 gubernatorial ballot — if he can qualify for it. The Saco man filed paperwork with the Maine Ethics Commission on Monday and intends to run as a Maine Clean Elections Act candidate. To qualify for the public money he would need to collect 3,200 qualifying contributions, which is a high bar. Alcorn is an example of the longshot candidates who come out of the woodwork when the governor’s race is for an open seat, as is the case in 2018. He’s one of more than 20 people who have filed to run, but he’s the first in alphabetical order and one of the most likely to become an answer to a trivia question.

Reading list

  • Mainers are signing up for the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans briskly. That’s despite uncertainty around what Congress may do to the system. The open enrollment period ends Dec. 15. State-level data is not yet available to nationally, there were some 1.4 million applications filed in the first two weeks of the enrollment period.
  • Shawn Moody launched his Republican gubernatorial bid on Tuesday, looking to put himself squarely in the middle of his new party. Moody called himself a “common-sense conservative” as he kicked off his 2018 bid to replace the term-limited Gov. Paul LePage in 2018 with LePage’s political adviser in charge of his campaign. A speaker at his Gorham event compared Moody — who became a Republican in October — to moderate Maine party legend Margaret Chase Smith, but Moody adopted some LePage-style messaging on welfare.
  • Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant is in trouble for a sexually explicit photo he sent from his office. Gallant, a third-term Democrat, admitted to sending the photo to a woman while in uniform. He said he didn’t do anything illegal, but he will resign from his post as president of the Maine Sheriffs Association. What else might happen is unclear.
  • Are you one of those people who wants to shop on Thanksgiving? Are you frustrated when stores are closed? That’s because of historically religious Blue Laws in Maine that the Legislature has tried and failed to repeal in various ways over the years. The latest was a bill this year vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage because he said it didn’t go far enough.
  • Jason Levesque will be Auburn’s next mayor after a recount. The businessman and former Republican congressional candidates won the office by six votes by Election Day totals, but WGME reported that a Tuesday recount found that he actually won by 12 votes over City Councilor Adam R. Lee.

The health perils of Thanksgiving

If there’s a scary moment on Thanksgiving, it’s when the turkey is hoisted from the oven to the counter. I’m usually the guy tasked with that and every year I’m tormented by visions of dropping the bird on the floor, ruining everything and living the rest of my life hearing about it.

Especially when someone skimps and buys one of those flimsy tin one-time-use pans. There should be a law against those.

Anyway, if that or just eating too much and spiking your cholesterol wasn’t enough to worry about, Portland chiropractor Andrew deBerthune has a warning I haven’t seen before: Don’t throw your back out.

As the BDN’s Seth Koenig reports, turkeys weigh 1.2 pounds more these days than they used to (!) and that “may be the straw that finally breaks grandma’s back.” (Grandma paralyzed on the floor would put a damper on dinner, especially if the pies weren’t done yet. Worst. 1.2. Pounds. Ever.)

Here are deBerthune’s tips:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Place hands on thighs
  3. Slide hands down thighs while maintaining a neutral spine.
  4. Gluteus maximus should translate posteriorly.

Wait, these sound like foreplay tips. Anyway, take them as you will. As for the soundtrack, there is only one Thanksgiving song and if there are others, they are wrong. — Christopher Cousins

Programming note

The Daily Brief will be off on Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. Enjoy your time with friends and family and away from politics. Here’s another soundtrack.

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd 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.