Wednesday, March 12, 2014
My column on Sunday considered how Gov. LePage's reliance on the veto coupled with the dramatically different makeup of the incoming, Democrat-controlled 126th Legislature will create an outsized opportunity for leadership from centrist Republicans.
Some facts and tangents that were cut due to space limitations:
LePage vetoed 24 bills in two years of working with a Republican-dominated Legislature that enacted 702 public laws. Two of LePage's vetoes were overridden by two-third majorities in both the House and Senate.
In the 8 years prior, Governor Baldacci vetoed just 8 bills passed by Democrat-controlled Legislatures that enacted 2755 public laws across 4 biennia. All of Baldacci's vetoes were sustained.
The last governor to have a veto overridden was Angus King at the end of his second term.
Google has its place, but the Legislative Law Library can share knowledge in a hurry if you ask nicely (and have an email address). My thanks for the research assist.
The Good Senator Saviello:
State Senator Tom Saviello of Franklin County was first elected to the Legislature as a House Democrat, switched to Independent while in office, and got elected to the State Senate as a Republican in 2010.
While Saviello's willingness to change his party affiliation must drive partisan stalwarts nuts, his constituents apparently could care less.
Saviello won re-election with 62% of the vote this year and some of that margin can be attributed to his clipping service.
Every week Saviello works his way through Franklin County's newspapers. He clips out stories about his constituents and sends them through the mail along with his compliments. The clips are a great way to stay on top of the news and in touch with voters.
Saviello's clips are similar to the practice of another party switcher -- legendary U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina who was the first Senator to serve until the age of 100.
Every Wednesday or Thursday of each week was Bride's Day in Thurmond's office. His staff would comb wedding announcements and compile a list of women getting married over the upcoming weekend. Many of these Palmetto State brides would get a call of congratulations from Sen. Thurmond.
Bloggers Note: Palmetto is a tree, apparently, but clearly not in the class of the Pine.
Fake Saviello Mail:
On October 7, I wrote about the "LePage Rubber-Stamp" attacks targeting five Republican incumbent State Senators. Sen. Garrett Mason of Androscoggin County was the only one of those candidates to survive the barrage of mail and win re-election.
Saviello was not one of the five targets, but the Democrats wanted to create that impression. Two mailers proclaiming that Saviello was a rubber stamp of LePage were delivered in Franklin County. One mailer went to Saviello and the other to outgoing GOP Chairman Charlie Webster.
The political equivalent of a pump fake, these two pieces of mail could have tricked the GOP into thinking that Saviello was a target and led to the allocation of precious resources "defending" against an attack that never occurred. For once, cooler heads prevailed.
And that's the Inside View.
-- Dan Demeritt
Michael Cuzzi and Dan Demeritt, who write a political column in the Insight section of the Maine Sunday Telegram, take their commentary on Maine politics to the blogosphere. Dan Demeritt made material contributions to the Maine political campaigns that sent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to Washington in 1996 and Gov. Paul LePage to the Blaine House in 2010. His track record of success is among Maine's best. After LePage’s election, Dan was named the new governor’s director of communications, helping the new administration transition into office and overseeing the public relations work of the agencies and offices of state government. An entrepreneur at heart, Dan now runs Winning Initiatives, a political and public relations consultancy. He is a graduate of Colby College and holds an MBA from the University of Southern Maine. Dan, his wife, Martha, and their three sons live in Sidney.
Dan can be reached at email@example.com
On Twitter: @demerrittdan
Michael Cuzzi is a veteran of presidential and congressional campaigns and an expert at developing communications programs that shape public opinion and legislative policies. Michael currently manages the Portland office for VOX Global, a strategic communications and public affairs headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining VOX, Michael served as the political director for Obama for America in New Hampshire. Michael is a former campaign manager for Tom Allen for Congress, and advance lead for Kerry-Edwards. He also has worked in the private sector at Akzo Nobel, a Fortune Global 500 company based in the Netherlands. Michael spent two years in central Maine as an AmeriCorps*VISTA, is a graduate of Colby College and lives in Scarborough with his wife and daughter.
Michael can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @CuzzMJ