Monday, March 10, 2014
It's always interesting to hear what the national power brokers say about Mainers and our U.S. Senate race. It's even more interesting to hear what they really think.
Sheelah Kolhatkar at Bloomberg Businessweek sat in a strategy meeting during the Republican National Convention and then wrote about the candid comments of some top GOP strategists and fundraisers. Among them was Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff and political adviser to Pres. George W. Bush and a founder of one of the richest Republican super PACs, American Crossroads.
Rove gave his realistic assessment about control of the Senate hinging on a handful of key races. The GOP is counting on winning at least three of four in Nebraska, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Virginia, for example. Rove mentioned Maine as a kind of secondary battleground state, but he had a couple other interesting observations about Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and about Portland.
Here's an excerpt:
An exception to Rove’s Senate optimism is Maine. Retiring Republican Senator Olympia Snowe is, “still sitting on $3 million in hard money,” Rove said. “She’s going to use the money, her husband told me, for charitable and philanthropic efforts.” He looked around the room. “So if any of you gave her money, I would call and ask for your money back. If you do, give it to Charlie Summers, our Republican candidate.”
Rove said that Summers was elected to a traditionally Democratic seat in the State Senate from Portland, which he said, "is sort of like Portland, Oregon, only they’re somewhat nicer and don’t smoke as much dope.” Summers actually served the Portland suburb of Scarborough, but he was close.
Rove said the GOP needs either Summers or Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., to win. "We can’t afford to lose both,” he is quoted as saying. “If we win both, we’re in great shape. If we lose one, it starts to get a little bit edgy. If we lose two, we’re in real difficulty.”
While Rove gave a somewhat cautious assessment last week, The Hill reported today that Democrats are increasingly optimistic about keeping control of the Senate.
The article only briefly mentions Maine, saying "Democrats are counting retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s seat in Maine as a probable gain." That is because they continue to believe independent frontrunner Angus King will win and caucus with the Democrats, although King has denied making any promises.Tweet
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
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