State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R) “announced Thursday that he submitted the required 2,000 signatures from Maine voters to guarantee his spot on the ballot. However, he’s still working on qualifying for taxpayer funding as a Clean Election candidate, which requires 3,200 contributions of $5.” (Bangor Daily News)
“Nine candidates … have indicated they plan to seek public funds for their campaigns just three years after voters increased the payout to candidates. A smattering of Democrats and independents, a Republican, and a Green Party contender could each claim as much as $3 million from an eight-figure fund, for which Maine’s ethics commission has sought an additional $1.7 million.
“‘[If] everybody qualifies, there isn’t enough money. That’s just a given,’ said Paul Lavin, the assistant director of the Maine Ethics Commission. However, Lavin noted, ‘critical points that will determine who will be eligible for funding’ include getting on the ballot, raising enough qualifying contributions, and winning the primary.” (National Journal)
DIFFERENTIATING THE PRIMARY FIELDS. Ten of the candidates met “at a Portland debate hosted by the Associated General Contractors of Maine on Wednesday. … Responding to [Gov. Paul] LePage’s (R) recent move to set up a commission to review wind energy in Maine that isn’t subject to public meeting laws, former Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew (R) called for ‘transparency in anything that government does.’ Mayhew, [state] House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R) and [state] Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R) said they would release senior housing bonds stalled by LePage (though Fredette, who has voted against their release, qualified that by saying ‘if done right’). … Businessman Shawn Moody (R) … was the only candidate opposing the bond release and advocating for a questionable merger of the Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority. To fight Maine’s opiate epidemic, he advocated going after ‘criminal organizations’ and said Maine must ‘scare’ people away from using drugs. But after Moody noted that he was one of few on-stage who aren’t lawyers or politicians, Fredette (a lawyer and politician) hit back and posted a clip of it on Twitter deriding Moody as ‘pro-choice’ and noting his 2010 run for governor as an independent.”
State Attorney General Janet Mills (D) “said she ‘probably’ didn’t support a 2016 referendum calling for a surtax on high income to fund education — a progressive cause celebre — while former [state] House Speaker Mark Eves (D) and state Sen. Mark Dion (D) did. Lawyer Adam Cote (D) demurred. … The Democrats were all over the place on the concept of a ‘buy America’ bill.”
“State Treasurer Terry Hayes (I) and consultant Alan Caron (I) … followed Republicans in saying she’d veto a ‘buy America’ bill. Both she and Caron said they opposed the surtax. But they also signaled openness to finding aggressive new tax-and-fee mixes to help replace the gas tax.” (Bangor Daily News)
What We're Following See More »
In an interview with Rolling Stone, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro indicated he's close to announcing a presidential bid. “I’m likely to do it,” he said. “I’ll make a final decision after November, but I’m inclined to do it.”
"A judge dismissed Stormy Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against President Trump on Monday. Judge James Otero also ruled Daniels must pay Trump’s attorney fees." A Trump attorney called it "a total victory for President Trump and a total defeat for Stormy Daniels."
“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as" Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News today. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.” Graham added that he intends to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”