Troy R. Bennett | BDN
By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
December four, 2018 eight:59 am
Up to date: December four, 2018 9:04 am
Good morning from Augusta. One of the crucial unsure Maine elections of 2018 is happening at this time on the State Home, the place legislative Democrats will meet within the afternoon to nominate candidates for constitutional workplaces, together with in a five-way race for attorney general.
Maine is the one state that permits the Legislature to elect these workplaces, and Democrats’ romp within the November election gained them 110 of the 186 seats in each chambers, in order that they’re within the driver’s seat to choose the attorney general, state treasurer and secretary of state.
That makes as we speak’s nominating election — not the formal one on Wednesday by which the complete Legislature will elect the candidates — the large one. However there’s nonetheless loads of uncertainty within the attorney general’s race. Right here’s the place issues stand.
The 5 candidates for attorney general underscore a revived curiosity within the workplace in an lively time for Democratic legal professionals. The brand new attorney general will substitute Gov.-elect Janet Mills, the Democrat who served as the highest regulation enforcement official for eight years. Six have been shared with Gov. Paul LePage, the outgoing Republican who typically pushed the boundaries of government energy. Mills, from the second-most highly effective statewide place, typically fought him.
For the primary time in six years, one celebration will management all of state authorities. That occurred alongside a nationwide push from Democratic attorneys general to struggle the insurance policies of President Donald Trump in courtroom. For instance, Maryland is main a lawsuit towards Trump’s appointment of an appearing U.S. attorney general and Mills has joined a number of different comparable fits.
The 5 Democratic candidates for attorney general are Rep. Aaron Frey of Bangor, Maeghan Maloney, the district attorney in Kennebec and Somerset counties, Sen. Mike Carpenter, a former attorney general from Houlton, outgoing Sen. Mark Dion of Portland and Tim Shannon of Yarmouth, a patent lawyer and associate at Verrill Dana.
All of them need to enhance relations with Maine tribes and most are subtly pushing a extra lively position for the workplace. These are nods to previous — and now solely hushed — criticism of Mills from her left in the course of the gubernatorial main the place she fended off extra liberal challengers.
The race appears to be extensive open, although Democrats largely aren’t tipping their arms earlier than in the present day’s election. Frey is an influential member of the Home, the place a lot of the votes are. Maloney has a community in her hyperlink to Emerge Maine, a gaggle that helps elect Democratic ladies. Carpenter has achieved the job. Dion is backed by progressives and the Sierra Membership. Shannon, the one Augusta outsider within the race, has pushed Democratic candidates across the state for a couple of years.
The Daily Brief despatched a survey on the races to all 110 Democrats yesterday. Solely 10 responded by this morning, making it comparatively meaningless. However for the report, Dion was picked first by three Democrats, whereas Frey, Carpenter and Maloney have been picked first by two every.
Shannon wasn’t picked first by any of them, however he was picked second by three individuals — greater than anybody else. That’s essential, since Democrats will use a type of ranked-choice voting to decide their nominee. If nobody wins a majority within the first vote, the last-place candidate will be eradicated and that will be repeated till a majority is gained.
The opposite two races are much less fascinating, however one might have an outdoor probability at upset potential. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is operating unopposed for a fourth time period, which might be his final due to time period limits. Former state Rep. Henry Beck, D-Waterville, is difficult State Treasurer Terry Hayes, a Buckfield unbiased who gained two phrases in nominally Democratic-controlled legislatures by profitable Republican help and siphoning sufficient Democrats.
Her street to re-election is harder this yr with stronger Democratic management, although two of the seven Democrats in our survey who stated that they’ve made up their minds on treasurer stated they again Hayes. We’ll see on Wednesday if there are extra out there.
LePage gained’t swear in new Legislature
In a break from custom, the governor will not swear in new lawmakers on Wednesday. LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz stated Monday that the governor will not carry out the ceremonial swearing in of latest lawmakers in Augusta, as he has prior to now. The obligation will fall to Chief Justice Leigh Saufley of the Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom. The Maine Structure requires that every new Legislature be sworn on the primary Wednesday in December, no matter whether or not the governor administers the oath.
Rabinowitz didn’t say why LePage gained’t be there, however he might attend the funeral for former President George H.W. Bush in Washington, D.C., the place he was noticed Monday. The governor has directed the closure of all non-essential state workplaces Wednesday as a part of the Nationwide Day of Mourning. It will not have an effect on the introduction of the 129th Legislature.
LePage’s absence will scale back the prospect for political intrigue on Wednesday. The final time the Democrats gained management of each chambers — in 2012 — LePage used his swearing-in speech to blast the Democratic Celebration for assigning a tracker to comply with him. Whereas he has been principally diplomatic in paving the best way for the transition to Mills’ governorship, he’s had a tough time up to now resisting the chance to use these sorts of occasions to take partisan jabs at his opponents.
— Maine’s 2nd Congressional District recount is about to start Thursday and will possible final into the brand new yr. The November race noticed outgoing Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin lose his seat to Rep.-elect Jared Golden, a Democrat. The 2-term Republican misplaced by a margin of greater than 1 %. Meaning he’ll have to pay for the hand recount after it’s carried out by Dunlap’s workplace until the outcomes swing in Poliquin’s favor, which is unlikely. Poliquin is concurrently difficult the race’s end result and the constitutionality of ranked-choice voting in federal courtroom. U.S. District Courtroom Decide Lance Walker is scheduled to start listening to arguments within the case Wednesday. The recount will break for the week in the course of the week of Christmas and resume Jan. three, 2019.
— The general public squabbling between Belfast’s mayor and metropolis councilors is the newest chapter within the metropolis’s lengthy historical past of political elbow throwing. As metropolis officers put together for an additional assembly this night, the current battle between Mayor Samantha Paradis and metropolis councilors summoned reminiscences of previous Belfast political dustups. Early within the 20th century, Mayor Edgar Hanson used to maintain victory parades that went previous the houses of his political foes. In 1982, Mayor Stetson Hills advised metropolis councilors that they might “take this job and shove it” when he resigned within the midst of a public feud over firing the town supervisor. So far, the present controversy has been much less dramatic, with a council vote to withdraw from the Maine Mayors Coalition being the key flashpoint.
— The dad or mum firm of the utility that gives electrical energy to Bangor and most of northern Maine is promoting belongings, together with a plant in Rumford. Emera Inc. executives informed monetary analysts on Nov. 9 that it’s too costly to get fairness financing for brand spanking new tasks, so the corporate deliberate to reduce prices internally and unload some enterprise belongings — together with the Rumford Energy gas-fired era plant — to pay for them. Emera Maine raised transmission and supply charges July 1, however didn’t get the complete quantity of the speed improve it had initially requested, which father or mother firm officers cited as one cause for lower-than- anticipated revenues. Emera Maine nonetheless has plans to spend $75 million this yr within the state, principally for transmission and distribution system upgrades.
Pee and queues
For the well-hydrated traveler, lengthy walks in romantic European cities pose a serious problem.
Public bogs are scarce, and a lot of the public lodging which might be obtainable cost a charge to pee. It’s onerous to take a leisurely stroll to drink within the surroundings when frantically looking for an applicable outlet for all the things else you’ve been consuming in.
Earlier this yr, Paris tried to tackle the issue by including outside urinals, which metropolis officers have dubbed “uritrottoirs.” Necessity made me considerably of an skilled on them throughout our current go to to the Metropolis of Lights. It was an incredible aid — in additional methods than one — to find them strategically located at key factors alongside a 14-mile stroll that my spouse and I took alongside the Seine. Choices assorted from a easy utilitarian metallic trough [Pro tip: Find an upstream spot] to a flowery purple receptacle that offered vitamins for a patch of herbs that appeared to be thriving, particularly for November.
However the idea has stirred a wee little bit of controversy. It’s not that the French have some type of puritanical objections to al fresco urination. In any case, they do share drops of the identical gene pool with the Quebecois drivers who gained notoriety throughout my youth for spontaneously pulling over onto the shoulders of Maine highways and byways to “water the plants” every time the necessity struck.
No, the issue in Paris rests with the shortage of “Egalite” within the software of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” to this type of public service. For whereas these facilities supply well timed aid for males, no comparable lodging can be found for ladies.
It’s a legitimate concern, however I’m simply going to zip my lips and let the French work it out. Right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
As we speak’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. When you’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.