Monday, December 9, 2013
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Here's the link to Monday's segment on WGAN where we discuss the influx of outside money in Maine legislative and gubernatorial races. Also, a short segment on the potential benefit of U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Col., supporting Mike Michaud, as well as human trafficking and a related bill by Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough.
North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling has released a new poll of the Maine gubernatorial race. The results are essentially the same as the last PPP poll, which had Democratic candidate Mike Michaud with a narrow lead over Republican Gov. Paul LePage and a wider advantage over independent Eliot Cutler.
Michaud leads LePage 38 percent to 36 percent. Cutler pulled in 15 percent, while 10 percent of respondents were undecided.
The poll asked about reaction to Michaud's disclosure last week that is gay. Seventy-one percent of Mainers say Michaud's sexuality makes no difference to them, while 12 percent more likely to vote for him, 15 percent less likely.The poll was released through Politico's Morning Score. Tom Jensen, with PPP, said Tuesday that Politico had asked for a preview of the poll for its Tuesday newsletter and the firm would release its customary analysis later. The preview doesn't include the margin of error. Whatever it is, it's likely Michaud's two-point lead over LePage is within the margin (PPP is usually in the +/- 5 percent range).
If you're scanning the #mepolitics thread or getting press releases from the campaigns, the reaction to the poll may seem familiar, if not a bit louder.
"Reeferendum," a teaser used by one of the local television stations, is one of my personal favorites. But No. 1 on the list? This photo, taken by BDN photographer Troy Bennett, of former state representative and Green Party activist John Eder lighting up a-ah- . . . honestly, what do you call a joint the size of a small child's forearm? I don't know, but there it is:
The photo of Eder seems to fly in the face of the message advanced by supporters of the referendum who put forward professional people as responsible users. Those people do exist, to be sure. You just can't seem them amid Eder's purple haze and a spliff that could blot out the sun. Reporter Randy Billings told me that legalization advocates were disappointed that some supporters decided to partake in the victory session.
(Update @ 10:39 a.m. - Grant apologized to Volk via press statement, saying his remarks last week were "ill-conceived." "I should have done my homework first," he said. )
There's been a lot back and forth over the Legislative Council's decision last week to reject a bill by Rep. Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, to help sex trafficking victims by suspending prostitution convictions. Democrats on the council spiked the bill without explanation. The council spiked close to 300 bills without explanation or debate, and the sponsors all have a chance to appeal. But the treatment of Volk's bill has prompted Republicans to say Democratic leaders were either engaged in their own war on women or were politically motivated to deny Volk, a swing district Republican, a policy victory on a women's issue.
The fighting reached its apex when Maine Republican Party Chairman Rick Bennett demanded an apology from Ben Grant, chairman of the Democratic Party, for saying that Volk submitted the bill "to soften her edges."
On Wednesday, other interest groups entered the fray, the state chapter of the Concerned Women for America of Maine, along with the Republican Federation of Women and Informed Women's Network (the latter was in the news recently thanks to a series of secret recordings of Gov. Paul LePage from a IWN event in Falmouth). The groups will hold a press conference at the State House Thursday.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud had a brief appearance on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow show Tuesday to talk about his decision to announce that he's gay. The interview is toward the end of the 13-minute segment, which is front-loaded with Maddow's montage hammering Gov. Paul LePage.
Michaud doesn't say much more than he's already told the Maine press, but Maddow does try to get specifics about the alleged "whisper campaign" that prompted his announcement. Michaud said he has "no idea who was doing it."
So far, it appears nobody knows. Republicans have privately questioned the allegation, saying it would be political suicide to conduct push polls or message testing about Michaud's sexuality becaues it could easily be traced back to a campaign or interest group.