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)
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"A sharply divided Supreme Court on Monday upheld the right of employers to require employees to use private arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. The 5-4 decision, split along the usual ideological lines, upheld the right of employers to use mandatory arbitration clauses to block the filing of class-action lawsuits over workplace issues such as unpaid overtime."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the United States will aim to "crush" Iran with new economic and military pressure unless it changes its behavior in the Middle East. New sanctions "are coming," said Pompeo, who said the United States would work to ensure freedom of navigation in regional waters, counteract Iranian "malign cyber activity," and crack down on Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies. He floated the idea of ending sanctions and re-establishing commercial relationships if Iran changed its behavior.