Saturday, December 7, 2013
From staff reports
The Maine League of Young Voters has released its slate of political endorsements, ranging from President Obama to Nisha Swinton for the Portland Water District Board of Trustees.
But it did not pick a favorite in the race for Maine's U.S. Senate seat. None of the candidates qualified, according to state director Nicola Wells.
"We had concerns about all of the candidates and couldn't, with one resounding voice, endorse any one of them," Wells said.
The League takes its endorsements very seriously, asking candidates to answer detailed questionnaires and then conducting follow-up interviews.
In the Senate contest, Democratic candidate Cynthia Dill and independent candidates Angus King and Andrew Ian Dodge answered the questionnaire and were interviewed. Republican Charlie Summers and independent candidates Steve Woods and Danny Dalton did not respond and were therefore not eligible.
The League is a nonpartisan group. But almost all of its endorsements this year went to Democratic candidates, which might seem to have given Dill an edge. (The league endorsed Dill's rival, Matthew Dunlap, in the Democratic primary.)
The non-endorsement of Dill comes after the progressive Democrat was passed up earlier this month by the Sierra Club, which endorsed King. Dill, of course, has not even been getting support from the national Democratic Party these days for fear that she will split the vote with King and help elect Summers.
Wells would not go into detail about why Dill and the other candidates did not qualify for an endorsement. But she said it was because none of them adequately addressed the concerns and issues of the league's members rather than any strategic decision to stay out of the race.
"At this point none of the candidates really passed that threshold for us, but we look forward to hearing more from the candidates between now and and November," she said.
The league will not endorse any more candidates between now and November, she said, but it will post more information online.
Wells said the reason for the League's non-endorsement will be made clearer Tuesday when it posts the questionnaires and interviews on its website.
MAINE ADS DO SHOW SOME OPENLY GAY PEOPLE
An Associated Press story these newspapers ran Thursday raises the question of whether gay-marriage campaigns across the country have shied away from using gay people in their ads.
The story, with a Minneapolis dateline, says "gay people speaking for themselves" are missing from the airwaves in the four states that will vote on gay marriage this year (Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington). It quotes a fundraising consultant who says that the "tough guys we need to flip" may still "say that gays are gross."
What's happened in Maine?
So far, Mainers United for Marriage has run two ads. One features a straight minister and his wife expressing support, and the other shows a group of volunteer firefighters, including one who identifies himself as gay, saying they, too, will vote "yes" on Question 1.
In addition, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders have run two ads, including one that features a lesbian couple sitting at a family dinner table. A World War II veteran who is the father of one of the women says he supports gay marriage. The other ad shows a straight couple talking about their support for gay marriage because they have a gay son.
In Maine, it appears the ads are 50/50 when it comes to showing openly gay people. With more ads on the way -- including the first ads from opponents, which are scheduled to air in early October -- it will be interesting to see how both campaigns try to influence voters as we barrel toward the Nov. 6 election.
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