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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or erussell@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or mbyrne@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or rbillings@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@pressherald.com
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or mshepherd@centralmaine.com
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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Wednesday April 16, 2014 | 06:03 PM

 Look out, Maine Republicans. On Wednesday, the incoming political fire came right from the top.

 Gov. Paul LePage, in an interview on the George Hale and Ric Tyler Show, criticized his own party members for failing to stand up not only to Democrats, but also to special interest groups and lobbyists.  A recording of LePage's appearance was posted on DirigoBlue.com, a liberal-leaning political blog. "The Republicans, I'm scolding them now for one thing," LePage said. "They're simply broken. They've been beat on and beat on and beat on all year, and they don't have the courage to stay further." LePage's criticism expanded to include the entire Legislature. "It's crazy what's going on over there," the governor said. "The Maine people are being bamboozled. You name it, you find it, I can't find enough adjectives to tell you what is happening to the Maine people. The dishonesty is rampant." LePage pointed to a bill he submitted in March that would have directed the state ethics commission to truth-test statements by candidates for governor or seats in the Legislature, which he called "innocuous." After brief discussion in a legislative committee, the bill was quickly defeated because of First Amendment concerns, but LePage has been using the defeat as an example to illustrate the Legislature's resistance to his brand of accountability.  "I'm trying to take on an attitude that's pervasive in Augusta. I'm trying to take them all on. We were all elected to do a job for the Maine people. We were not elected to make deals with lobbyists." He continued later: "I know my party's going to be upset, but when you can't get honesty and you start making deals for your friends, that's bad
Wednesday April 16, 2014 | 11:30 AM

A new poll by the Portland-based Pan Atlantic SMS Group gives Republican Gov. Paul LePage a slight lead over Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud in the gubernatorial race.

The live telephone survey of 400 Maine residents was conducted between March 31 and April 5 and included a mix of landline and cell phone interviews, according to Pan Atlantic SMS. It shows LePage with a 1.3 percentage point lead over Michaud, 38.6 percent to 37.3 percent, while independent Eliot Cutler trails both of his rivals with 20.3 percent. The governor's lead is well within the poll's 4.9 percent margin of error, meaning the poll shows LePage and Michaud in a virtual tie with more than seven months remaining before the election.

The Pan Atlantic SMS poll is similar to the results the firm posted in November, although the fall survey gave Michaud a 1.3-percentage point lead. The more recent poll shows LePage has gained 2.6 percent since the November survey, while Michaud has maintained the same level of support. Cutler received a 2 percent bump in support since the November poll.

The Pan Atlantic SMS survey is the first publicly released poll to show LePage with a lead. A recent automated poll by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling showed Michaud with a 7-point lead, although that survey oversampled Democrats in its calculation to measure likely voter turnout. The Pan Atlantic SMS poll asked respondents if they were "very" or "somewhat" likely to vote in November and its sample reflects the composition of registered Maine voters. 

Friday April 11, 2014 | 01:00 PM

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud will be in Maine for the next two weeks to open field offices and tour local businesses, according to a schedule released by his gubernatorial campaign office.

While much of his time will be spent feeding his grassroots campaign that is already well underway, the Democratic candidate does plan to have a little fun along the way.

Michaud will be in downtown Ellsworth on Wednesday, where he will tour the Atlantic Art and Glass shop and perhaps learn how to blow glass.

The art of glass blowing dates back thousands of years. It now involves using torches and furnaces to soften glass so it can be shaped and expanded by physically blowing into a long tube.

Wednesday April 09, 2014 | 05:54 PM

Maine Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson made headlines Wednesday when the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting produced a story about how he tried to pass a bill helping one constituent undo a legal agreement with the state.

That constituent's name? Robert Pelletier, a Fort Kent contractor. 

Jackson, of Allagash, running in the Democratic primary to represent Maine's 2nd congressional district, has two kids with his partner Lana Pelletier, a Fort Kent native.

That begs a question: Does Jackson have family ties to Pelletier through her?

Wednesday April 09, 2014 | 04:59 PM

Democrat Emily Cain widened her money lead over primary opponent Troy Jackson in the latest fundraising period for the race to represent Maine's 2nd congressional district.

Cain, an Orono state senator, raised more than $190,000 between the new year and March's end, according to a campaign news release. 

That total beats Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash, by nearly double. His campaign reported raising just over $100,000 during that period.

The final numbers are due to the Federal Election Commission on April 15 and campaigns didn't release the filing documents, which show individual donors. Republicans Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin are expected to release their numbers just before they're reported.