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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

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Wednesday December 04, 2013 | 01:30 PM

WASHINGTON – Shipbuilders are turning to the public to pressure Congress to avert the next round of federal budget cuts that Navy officials warned will impact ship construction and maintenance nationwide, potentially including projects in Maine.

The Shipbuilders Council of America launched a national campaign – dubbed SOS: Save Our Ships – to call attention to the “sequestration” budget cuts. The trade group represents 45 companies that operate 85 shipyards, including the Maine’s Bath Iron Works shipyard operated by General Dynamics.

In addition to an online petition, the organization said the campaign will feature “a combination of digital advertising, earned media programming and grassroots mobilization.”

The petition reads:

Thursday November 21, 2013 | 03:38 PM

WASHINGTON – Two Republicans candidates for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat are receiving an early nod from their party’s national campaign machine.

Republicans Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin were two of 36 people nationwide who made it onto the National Republican Campaign Committee’s initial list of “On the Radar” candidates.

Being “On the Radar” seems to mean pretty much what it says: the candidates get props for setting up a basic campaign organization and are deemed to have potential in what is expected to be a competitive race. To get further support from the NRCC – being labeled a “Young Gun” – they will have to meet specific campaign benchmarks going forward.

Wednesday November 13, 2013 | 12:29 PM

WASHINGTON – Republican Sen. Susan Collins continues to hold a large lead among potential voters – including Democrats – as she heads into her 2014 reelection campaign, according to a new poll.

The Public Policy Polling survey is the first conducted of Maine voters since Shenna Bellows, the former executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, entered Maine’s 2014 race as a Democrat.

Collins led Bellows 59 percent to 20 percent in PPP’s automated telephone survey of 964 Maine voters last weekend, with 22 percent undecided when asked about the match-up. Significantly, Bellows even trailed Collins by 14 percent among Democrats, underscoring the uphill battle the Manchester resident faces as she attempts to defeat the incumbent.

But PPP’s poll also made clear that relatively few people know Bellows, with 71 percent of respondents responding “not sure” to a question of whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her. Mainers’ knowledge of Bellows will undoubtedly increase as she intensifies her campaign.

Monday October 28, 2013 | 03:47 PM

WASHINGTON – Maine’s largest labor organization, the AFL-CIO, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-District 2, in his bid for governor and State Sen. Troy Jackson as the Allagash Democrat seeks to fill Michaud’s seat in Washington.

It's certainly no surprise that Michaud would receive an endorsement from the Maine AFL-CIO, which represents 30,000 workers in 160 local unions in the state. Michaud is a card-carrying union member who spent several decades working in the paper mills. Meanwhile, there’s no love lost between labor unions and the Blaine House’s current occupant, Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The organization’s endorsement of Jackson, while not surprising, could have interesting implications for the race in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, however.

As I noted in my Sunday column (which can be found here), union endorsements often translate into direct contributions from the union itself as well as donations from union members. Unions can also help supply the people needed to conduct a campaign’s ground game (hand out pamphlets, make phone calls, talk up their candidate in social circles, etc…)

Friday October 25, 2013 | 03:32 PM