PORTLAND – Candidates for governor are getting a chance to express their artsy sides this month at brown-bag lunch sessions hosted by Aucocisco Galleries in Portland.

Gallery Director Andy Verzosa said in an e-mail to friends of the gallery that he wanted to find out more about how the candidates view “Maine arts, culture and the creative economy.”

Here’s the lineup for the noon series:

Today: Steven Rowe, Democrat

Tuesday: Waterville Mayor Paul LePage, Republican

Wednesday: Donna Dion, Democratic write-in

Thursday: Rosa Scarcelli, Democrat

Friday: Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, Democrat

May 17: Les Otten, Republican

May 18: Patrick McGowan, Democrat

May 19, Kevin Scott, independent

Dates for other candidates are in the works and will be posted at www.meetthegovernor.com, according to the gallery.

Independent Eliot Cutler and Republican state Sen. Peter Mills have already participated in the series.

The gallery is located at 89 Exchange St. in Portland. 

DEMOCRATS UP NEXT

With the Republican convention concluded, the Democrats come next.

Their state convention will be held in Lewiston on May 21-22.

The keynote speaker will be Tim Kaine, the former Virginia governor who’s now chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

And, as with the Republicans, the highlight will be the opportunity for all four Democratic gubernatorial candidates — Scarcelli, Mitchell, Rowe and McGowan — to address the convention and gain momentum with the June 8 primary election soon to follow. 

RED COUNTY’S CAUCUS TO ENDORSE

The state’s and New England’s reddest county — the only one of 66 to back McCain/Palin in 2008 — will announce its gubernatorial endorsement this week, said Rep. Paul Davis, leader of the group.

Following the Friday debate and Saturday speeches at the GOP convention, the group needs time to talk about which candidate lives up to their conservative ideals.

On the website, the caucus has this theme: “Don’t Blame Me, I’m from Piscataquis County.” 

HOW TO VOTE ABSENTEE

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap wants voters to know how easy it is to vote absentee — and how you can request a ballot online.

Across the state, 217 cities and towns participate in the state’s Online Absentee Ballot Request Service and even if your town is not part of the system, you can find out what you need to know at maine.gov.

In Maine, you don’t need a reason to vote absentee. Dunlap’s office outlined three possibilities:

If you live in one of the 217 towns, you can request your ballot online;

If you don’t, you can fill out a request online, print it, sign it and send it to your municipal clerk;

You can print a blank form, fill it out by hand and mail it to your local clerk.

It’s also important to note that in addition to the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial primaries, there are four bond questions and a people’s veto question on tax reform on the June 8 ballot. 

‘ROAD TO THE BLAINE HOUSE’ ONLINE

Veteran State House reporter Mal Leary’s “Road to the Blaine House” series is now available online at www.twctv.net, Time Warner Cable announced recently.

Leary did 30-minute sit-down interviews with all 11 candidates. The interviews have all aired once, and now the cable company has decided to air them again on television (channels 9 and 12) and post them online.

In a news release, Leary said he not only pinned candidates down on things such as job creation, but he touched on the lighter side as well. 

SCARCELLI ON GAMBLING

At a forum the other night, the four Democrats running for governor were asked to state their positions on the Oxford County casino proposal, the expansion of table games at Hollywood Slots and the possibility of a tribal casino.

Since then, Scarcelli said she wants to make her position clear on gambling and casinos, and her campaign pointed to the statement she posted on her website last fall. Here it is: “I am not in favor of more gambling casinos in Maine. After four statewide referendums on this issue in which more casinos and slot machines were rejected, the voters have clearly spoken.

“There are better ways to bring jobs to Maine. I believe casinos and gambling are ineffective tools for long-term economic development.”

There’s more to the statement, which can be found at www.rosaformaine.com

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]