May 21, 2012

State House Notebook: How can a Democrat beat former Gov. Angus King?

(Continued from page 1)


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Here's what we reported back then: When it comes to the Land for Maine's Future program, all candidates but LePage said they would support a bond on the November ballot that calls for the state to borrow $9.75 million for the program. LePage said he supports the other bond on the ballot, which is $5 million for new dental services in Maine.

"All other bond issues are putting shackles on the next governor," he said.


Americans Elect, the well-funded national organization trying to draft a bipartisan presidential ticket, has spent the last two years attempting to secure ballot access in all 50 states.

Now, after spending more than $20 million and getting a place on the ballot in 27 states, including Maine, the organization is ready to call it quits.

The problem: Americans Elect can't find a presidential candidate.

The organization has been unable to find a candidate with enough support to qualify for its upcoming online convention. The group had a self-imposed deadline of Monday at 11:59 p.m. to complete its nominating process, but no candidate reached the 10,000-click -- and 1,000 in 10 separate states -- support threshold.

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer, who failed to gain traction in the GOP primary, came the closest. The group had hoped to attract more high-profile candidates, but Darry Sragow, a candidate recruiter, told ABC News that many would-be candidates were wary of joining the AE ticket.

"If you have invested your lifetime in politics as a Democrat or a Republican, you know very well that if you take the Americans Elect path or any similar path really there's no turning back," Sragow said. "You are going to face the reality that you will find yourself suddenly not welcome in your party."

Supporters of a bipartisan ticket are disappointed that the Americans Elect approach appears to be a failure. But some Republicans and Democrats had feared that a viable AE presidential ticket could hurt the established parties during what could be a very close race between President Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.


A bill that would have eased restrictions put in place last year for those who retire and return to work died in the House and Senate this week.

With little fanfare or debate, the measure was voted "ought not to pass" or, as the online bill tracking system puts it: "Placed in the Legislative Files. (DEAD)."

Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York, said earlier this year that she was concerned that teachers were getting hurt by the new restrictions because they could make only 75 percent of what the position pays if they retire and come back. The teachers union argues that in at least some cases, widows are forced to come back to work after their husbands die because they can't make it financially.

In the end, Republicans started pulling away, saying they wanted to wait to judge the impact of the change put in place last fall. It's really meant to target superintendents and their much larger salaries, not teachers.

State House Writers John Richardson, Susan Cover and Steve Mistler contributed to this column.

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