Maine politics that doesn’t involve crashing into a moose

BDN photo by Troy R. Bennett.

This is the first of what will be an occasional feature here at State & Capitol: A round-up of political news tidbits that didn’t merit a full story, but are still worth noting. In the past, this sort of thing would be called a “Reporter’s Notebook,” but that phrase seems a bit … outdated. If you’ve got suggestions for what to call this feature, leave a suggestion in the comments. Thanks!


Early internal poll shows Raye with strong footing in CD2

Sometimes, politicians do release their internal polls. Last week, former Maine Senate President and current 2nd Congressional District hopeful Kevin Raye, R-Perry, released internal polling results that showed him leading the pack among his fellow GOP primary contenders ahead of the 2014 campaign.

The poll, by the GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies, showed Raye with 79 percent voter recognition among likely primary voters, which makes sense considering his stint as Senate president and previous campaigns against incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who is leaving the seat to run for governor in 2014. Among the same voters, Raye earned a 45 percent approval rating. The closest opponent was former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, R-Oakland, whose voter ID/favorable rating was 68/29.

In the GOP primary survey, Raye beat out Poliquin 45 percent to 19 percent, with another 5 percent going for Blaine Richardson, a libertarian candidate. The result changed very little when former Maine Sen. Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, was included.

The poll also showed Raye with a double-digit advantage in a simulated general election over Maine Sens. Emily Cain of Orono and Troy Jackson of Allagash, the top two contenders for the Democrats’ nomination. You can see the full release from the poll here.

Speaking of CD2 … waiting on Baldacci, Rosen

Exactly which  names will appear on primary ballots next year is yet to be decided. Two names constantly appear in news stories about the race: Bangor City Councilor and Democrat Joe Baldacci (younger brother of former Gov. John Baldacci) and Rosen, a Republican who now runs the state’s Office of Policy and Management.

Baldacci has made no secret that he’s considering a run, but said Friday that he won’t make an official decision until the end of the year. An attorney, Baldacci said he needed to make sure he could run his legal practice as well as a campaign: “I’ve got one murder case that’s going to take me through at least December. I can’t commit to anything until I finish that case,” he said.

Rosen has previously told the Bangor Daily News that he’s running, but a D.C. bloggerciting unnamed Republican sources, said the former Bucksport senator is now unsure. Word among Republican operatives I talked to today is that Rosen is weighing his options, which is a far cry from “definitely in.” Still, I’m not prepared to say he’s out until he tells me so. Rosen was unavailable for comment Friday, when he was in Washington, D.C., where I hear his wife, former Maine Rep. Kimberly Rosen, was receiving an award. UPDATE (6:22 p.m.): I just heard back from Rosen, who said he is definitely running. When I asked why people may have a different impression, he said “I’ve had a lot of conversations with people in the 2nd District, and I’ve received tremendous support. It is my intention to run.” So, there you are. Rosen is still in. 

LePage campaign comes back to Twitter

If you’ve been paying attention to #mepolitics, you’ve probably noticed that @LePage2010 has risen like a phoenix from the ashes, reborn as @LePage2014.

The account hadn’t been active since back in December 2010, just after LePage won that year’s election, but it started tweeting up a storm on Nov. 4. The governor’s re-election campaign also launched its website this week, at lepage2014.com.

The other 2014 gubernatorial candidates were already online: See @michaud2014 on Twitter and michaud2014.com, as well as @EliotCutler and cutlerformaine.com.

Appeals for rejected bills will take place next week

On Nov. 21, the state’s top lawmakers will hear appeals from legislators whose bill proposals were rejected from the agenda for the second session, which begins in January. Legislators will argue their cases before the Legislative Council, which accepted about a quarter of all submitted bills when they met last month.

If the emails flying into my inbox are any indication, it should be a busy day. Among the bills that will be appealed are one aimed at boosting access to shelters for homeless veterans, another right-to-work proposal and a bill to strengthen the sex-offender registry — plus the rejected bill that’s gotten the most press, Rep. Amy Volk’s proposal to expunge prostitution records for victims of human trafficking.

That bill has been a political flashpoint for the Democrats who killed it last month, but  Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat, says the partisan bickering may be a moot point. Maine’s Constitution says the governor has the exclusive right to grant pardons, and Volk’s bill could run against that right. We’ll see what happens next week.

Woodard’s ‘American Nations’ goes viral

If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen a lot of maps on your news feed in the past week or so. Most divide the country into different groups or blocs, each giving you a different way to look at regionalism in the U.S.

You can thank Maine journalist and author Colin Woodard, who published “American Nations” two years ago. It’s a book built around the thesis that 11 rival regional cultures — established long before the national map was split into “red and blue” — explain why different parts of the country act and think the way they do.

The book went viral in recent weeks, and Woodard has been all over national blogs, TV and radio. Even if the timing is strange, the book is worth a read.

… and Sen. Troy Jackson hit a moose

In case you missed it. He didn’t.

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House.