Sunday, December 8, 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.
So Monday was a dead news day, right?
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud owned the news cycle again Monday, but Tuesday the focus will begin to shift to Gov. Paul LePage, who launches his celebratory kickoff in Augusta.
Like Michaud's announcement Monday, LePage's launch will be a controlled event. The press will be screened and roped off and it appears reporters won't get much access to the governor other than his speech.
The LePage campaign is pushing a few narratives for the event, some of which should be familiar to those who regularly follow the governor. Brent Littlefield, the LePage's political adviser, said last week that the event will lean heavily on the governor's personal story and his policy achievements, which even his critics will admit are extensive, though they may disagree with them.
(Update - LePage lifted the civil emergency via press statement at 3:04 p.m.)
Gov. Paul LePage was the only governor to call a civil emergency as a response to the shutdown of federal government.
The shutdown is over. So why is Maine still under a civil emergency?
It's going to be a long 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
Exhibit A: The Cobscook Bay barricade.
So you may have read that the feds at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently installed wooden sawhorses at the Cobscook Bay State Park to discourage about two dozen fishermen from accessing a boat ramp. The park is located within the federal Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. As part of the government shutdown, the federal government closed the entrance to Cobscook even though it's managed by the state.
Gov. Paul LePage has blasted the feds for closing the park, and more recently blocking the boat ramp, saying it prevented fishermen from reaching the ocean. On Tuesday the governor announced that he was traveling to Cobscook to support the fishermen there.
(Update: Peter Steele, LePage's spokesman, emailed the following statement at 1:01 p.m. --
"The Governor was speaking informally about the revenue surplus at the end of Fiscal Year 2013, which was about $47 million. Adding that revenue to lapsing balances and accounting adjustments, the total surplus was $58 million.
Under state law, surplus revenue is used to replenish the Governor’s contingency fund, the retirement allowance fund and the loan insurance fund at FAME. Surplus revenue must then cascade into specified accounts, such as the rainy day fund, the tax relief fund, the operating capital fund, the health insurance fund for retirees, tax relief fund and the capital construction reserve.
Obviously, the Governor cannot hide any revenue from anyone. The quip was made in jest, referring to how Democrats will always find a way to spend excess revenue, rather than using it to benefit the
The Democratic Governors Association has released a new web ad. It's not the "American Comeback."
The latter is a campaign run by the Republican Governors Association, which has begun to assert that Republican governors, including Gov. Paul LePage, are the anti-Congress, the doers. Conversely, the DGA spot claims that LePage and some of his counterparts are just like members of Congress, making a direct link to the federal government shutdown and the growing public sentiment that Republicans -- specifically tea party Republicans -- are responsible for it.
There are two quick clips of LePage in the spot. Both recycle 2010 campaign footage of LePage talking about the tea party.
The "Walking Dead" also takes a run at Ken Cuccinelli II, the Republican candidate running for governor in Virginia. Reports suggests that Cuccinelli is in deep trouble in his race against Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Although polls show McAuliffe is hardly beloved, the tea party-backed Cuccinelli is less so.