Sunday, April 20, 2014
It's primary day and most of the focus will be on the Democratic and Republican races for the U.S. Senate, but there's some interesting developments in a few legislative primaries, too.
The Press Herald has reported that the PACs connected to racino developer Ocean Properties and the state and national real estate agents' associations have dumped money into Democratic primaries in the Biddeford-Saco area.
On Monday, the Maine Realtors Association PAC filed another independent expenditure to support Democrat Donald Pilon for the Biddeford-Saco district senate seat. Pilon, a realtor, is running against fellow Democrat state Rep. Linda Valentino.
Pilon is also receiving the backing of Ocean Properties for his vote to authorize the proposed Biddeford-Calais racino. Valentino voted against legislative authorization and to send the project to the voters in 2011 (the project was rejected).
In Washington County a tea party-backed PAC made contributions to Kathleen Caso in the GOP state senate primary for the Washington County seat currently occupied by senate presdient Kevin Raye, who is running for U.S. Congress. Caso is running against state Rep. David Burns, of Whiting.
The same PAC is also involved in the GOP primary for the senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Debra Plowman, of Hampden, who is running for the U.S. Senate. House minority Rep. Andre Cushing, of Hampden, is angling for Plowman's seat, but he has a tough opponent in James Emerson. Cushing is also fending off an anonymous letter questioning his character and political ambition.
While Emerson and Caso are receiving support from the tea party PAC, Gov. Paul LePage has recorded a robocall supporting Burns and Cushing.
Tea party activists Eric Brakey and David Boyer, who are running the PAC, are not pleased with the governor's intervention. They have posted a letter on the conservative website As Maine Goes questioning LePage's decision.
From the letter: "Is it politically savvy to alienate any individual that you may have to work with and depend on supporting your agenda and possible re-election to the Blaine House? Is it wise to endorse the opponent of a supporter who worked so hard to get you elected?"
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.