Good morning from Augusta. The state’s two fundamental political events picked their leaders over the weekend, with the candidates favored by former Gov. Paul LePage and Gov. Janet Mills profitable out within the Republican and Democratic events, respectively.
Maine Republican Get together Chair Demi Kouzounas survived a problem after a troublesome 2018 election and the brand new state Democratic chair might be Kathleen Marra, an activist whose position by means of the 2020 will principally be behind the scenes.
The Republican race was fractured, with a longtime legislative chief dropping out of the chair’s race the night time earlier than and citing a character cult within the celebration. That was a nod at LePage, who continues to be the politician who most animates the grass-roots even after leaving the Blaine Home.
LePage wrested management of the celebration throughout his tenure as governor. The previous governor by no means shied away from battle throughout his tenure and there was delicate battle round management of the Maine Republican Get together after LePage and Republicans stormed to regulate of the chief and legislative branches in 2010 for the primary time in 4 many years. Mills and Democrats had a greater wave election in 2018.
When he declined to run for re-election in 2012, then-Maine Republican Celebration Chair Charlie Webster stated LePage allies advised him simply after the 2010 election that the governor needed to “run the party” and he informed them “that’s not going to happen.”
For the remaining of LePage’s tenure, the candidates he endorsed for social gathering chair all gained the seat. That features Kouzounas, a dentist from Saco who took over the celebration in 2017 and made few modifications, retaining a employees led by longtime LePage ally Jason Savage, the chief director.
The celebration could also be molded in LePage’s picture now greater than ever. In December, LePage wrote a lengthy Kouzounas endorsement to the get together’s state committee that partially blamed 2018 election losses on an uncooperative group of Senate Republicans, with whom the previous governor clashed for the final 4 years of his tenure.
That appeared to be aimed toward former Senate Majority Chief Garrett Mason, who was operating towards Kouzounas alongside a third challenger, former state Rep. Heather Sirocki. However Mason obtained little momentum and dropped out the night earlier than the vote. In an e-mail, he stated there’s a “cult of personality” within the social gathering by which people and not concepts are celebrated.
Kouzounas informed the state committee the get together has been “too nice” in her tenure. In her second time period, she would instruct a communications individual to “literally ‘Tweet’ daily kinda like” President Donald Trump and begin a nonprofit with LePage to rival the liberal Maine Individuals’s Alliance.
Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro, a controversial determine who narrowly gained a June recall after tweeting “Eat it, Hogg” to a Florida faculty capturing survivor who embraced gun management, was elected vice chair of the get together with no opposition. All of these indicators level to a extra confrontational get together in 2019 — simply as the previous governor would in all probability prefer it.
With Democrats holding energy, their new chair will in all probability be quieter. Marra, a get together activist who beforehand held management posts in York County and was amongst a group of individuals arrested at a Blaine Home protest final yr, beat Melissa Sterry with Mills’ help on Sunday. Since Democrats gained the governor’s race, flipped the 2nd Congressional District to put in U.S. Rep. Jared Golden and gained legislative majorities, there might be no scarcity of high-profile Democratic spokespeople. The get together will probably be simpler to steer than Republicans as a result of of that.
Nonetheless, Democrats have a massive job via 2020, once they’ll attempt to shield Golden and oust Trump and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins. As we’ve seen just lately, a lot can change in an election cycle.
At this time in A-town
It’s nonetheless a time for introductions and coaching on the State Home. The Home and Senate don’t convene once more till Tuesday, and most of their early flooring actions will probably be persevering with to refer proposed laws to committees.
Legislative committees begin assembly this week. These conferences kick off immediately for the schooling, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and Veterans and Authorized Affairs committees. These are largely to permit committee members to get acquainted with one another, committee employees and lobbyists. Little of public consequence will occur till they maintain affirmation hearings on Cupboard nominees or schedule work periods to vote on proposed laws.
Click on right here for this week’s schedule and for audio hyperlinks to committee hearings. Right here is their soundtrack.
— To kick off his re-election yr, the mayor of Portland will suggest municipal public marketing campaign financing and lobbyist disclosure mandates. Throughout his annual State of the Metropolis tackle this night, Ethan Strimling will supply particulars of proposals to have Portland set up a so-called Clear Election fund and demand its elected officers disclose conferences with lobbyists and different influencers if it does so. On the state degree, candidates for governor, the Home and Senate can use tax dollars to fund their campaigns for workplace so long as they attain minimal thresholds of particular person marketing campaign donations of between $5 and $100. Portland Metropolis Council districts are about twice the dimensions of Maine Home districts. A Home candidate can get about $15,000 in public funding for a contested common election if she or he maximizes qualifying donations, so if a commensurate program is put in place in Portland, every council candidate might value the town round $30,000.
— The earlier Congress whiffed on a bid to assist shellfish harvesters and worm diggers close to Acadia, so Maine’s delegation has submitted a comparable proposal. The brand new proposal updates payments that Sen. Angus King and then-U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin submitted in January 2017. The Home handed the invoice in March of final yr nevertheless it did not make it via the Senate and lapsed on the finish of the 115th Congress. The delegation continues to work to make clear federal legal guidelines to permit clammers, worm diggers and different marine harvesters to proceed to ply their trades by conventional means within the intertidal zone alongside Acadia Nationwide Park’s shore.
— Federal staff are invoking the anti-slavery constitutional modification in a new authorities shutdown lawsuit. A gaggle of federal staff who haven’t been paid throughout the federal government shutdown are suing the Trump administration for forcing them into involuntary servitude. The 4 Texas and West Virginia plaintiffs, who’ve continued working with out pay because the authorities shut down Dec. 22, declare the Trump administration and their bosses have violated the 13th Modification, which famously abolished slavery and involuntary servitude after the Civil Warfare. The lawsuit, filed final week within the U.S. District Courtroom for the District of Columbia, is a minimum of the third filed towards the Trump administration because the shutdown started 23 days in the past.
Younger Invoice and Sleepy Harold
A current story about a scholar from Orono working with the mechanical engineering division at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to design a higher sneaker triggered an odd combine of reminiscences for me.
On the day after I turned 16, I began work as a summer time intern for the mechanical engineering division at WPI. My dad acquired me the job. It was nepotism at its polytechnic greatest, however I’m not ashamed. It was a six-week gig that earned me some a lot wanted money and stored me out of hassle. It additionally allowed the WPI scientists to dish off menial duties to me so they might think about innovation and scholarly pursuits.
I spent the mornings operating cable via steam tunnels, empty dormitories and gymnasium rafters to assist set up the infrastructure for a campus communications community. I additionally used a massive, cumbersome digital camera to report college students presenting the outcomes of their analysis. WPI emphasised real-world purposes of schoolwork, so again within the 1970s, college students and professors — together with my dad and the blokes I labored for within the ME division — have been tinkering with area journey, lasers, battery chargers, microchips and the nuts and bolts of the knowledge know-how that we take for granted as we speak. It was like Hogwarts for science.
My afternoon obligation was to report the televised Watergate hearings. I might sit in a scorching basement workplace, splicing wires and making switches because the televised hearings droned on. When a recording cartridge the dimensions of a brick clicked, signalling a new one was wanted, I must bounce up, pull it out and maneuver a new one into place.
On the time, the history-making facet of the Watergate hearings was not the position they performed in ousting President Richard Nixon. It was merely that t hey have been televised, People had not often seen Congress in motion, so the chance to take action whereas sitting at house — or within the basement of a school constructing — was a actually huge deal. I earned $1.60 an hour by serving to to reserve it for posterity — or at the very least till the recordings could possibly be transcribed.
The televised hearings launched the nation to “Young Bill Cohen,” the first-term U.S. consultant from Bangor who went on to a distinguished profession in Congress and as Invoice Clinton’s secretary of protection. However in 1973 and 1974, he was virtually all the time launched as if “Young” was his first identify.
In Worcester, the main target of the televised hearings more and more turned U.S. Rep. Harold Donohue, a native politician who had risen within the ranks to turn out to be the No. 2 Democrat on the Judiciary Committee that thought-about articles of impeachment. However all of that rising had occurred off digital camera. After the tv cameras repeatedly caught Donohue sleeping for lengthy stretches of the hearings, it brought about an uproar in his district. Constituents reportedly mailed him alarm clocks as Donohue turned an early image for the “do-nothing Congress” — at a time when Congress was truly shifting towards impeaching a corrupt president — and he didn’t search re-election in 1974. Right here is his soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
As we speak’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. In case 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.