Wednesday, March 12, 2014
TAMPA, Fla. – The list of speakers and attendees of the Republican National Convention reads like a who’s who in the GOP across the country.
For the Maine Republican Party, however, the 2012 convention is notable for who is not in Tampa – namely, pretty much all of the state’s big-name GOP politicians.
Gov. Paul LePage announced last week that he was skipping the convention due, in large part, to the dispute between Maine delegates who support presidential candidate Ron Paul and Republican National Committee members. LePage is an official delegate, so his spot was filled by an alternate.
Sen. Olympia Snowe’s absence in Tampa is not necessarily surprising. Snowe, who is retiring in January after more than 30 years in Congress, has been deeply critical of her own party’s ideological shift to the right – a shift she argues could cost the party dearly with women, Hispanics and independent voters this November.
Snowe’s abrupt decision earlier this year to halt her re-election campaign also caught Republican leaders off guard and opened up a Senate seat that had been considered a sure-bed for the GOP. Former Gov. Angus King, an independent who supports President Obama, is emerged as the clear front-runner in that race.
Sen. Susan Collins, meanwhile, cancelled her plans to attend the convention earlier this week due to Tropical Storm Isaac, according to spokesman Kevin Kelley. Collins, like Snowe, is a moderate Republican, which is increasingly viewed as a rarity in hyper-partisan Congress these days. And she did not have any official role in the 2012 convention.
Secretary of State Charlie Summers was among the 10 people named by RNC officials to replace 10 Paul supporters on Maine’s delegation amid the ongoing flap over the legality of Maine’s slate of elected delegates and alternates.
But Summers has turned down the delegate seat and, instead, spent part of Monday in Washington County as part of his campaign to replace Snowe in the Senate. Spokesman Lance Dutson said in an email that Summers is sticking with his earlier plan to campaign in Maine and swing through Tampa on Wednesday for a campaign-related purposes, however.
That leaves Attorney General Bill Schneider as the only statewide GOP official – apart from party leaders – who is in Tampa for the convention. And Schneider was only added to the list of delegates last week by the RNC as part of the committee’s decision to reconfigure Maine’s delegation.Tweet
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John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or email@example.com
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com