Maine has a long history of legislators switching parties or dropping their affiliation to become unenrolled. In 2006, Maine House member Barbara Merrill left the Democrats, tying the parties and threating Democratic control of the chamber. The issue was only resolved when another switcher, Rep. Joanne Twomey, rejoined the Democratic caucus to give them a majority.
The Maine governor's race has now officially kicked into gear. The fields are set, debates are happening, and the first television ads are hitting the airwaves. Unfortunately, with more than a dozen significant candidates in the race and no real independent polling, it's hard to tell which campaigns are doing well and which are tanking.
With the release of the January fundraising reports, however, we can now begin to get a better picture of some aspects of the race.
Much about the future of political journalism in Maine and America is murky, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: a great deal of the public interest and political reporting of tomorrow won't be making money, and it won't be meant to.
Several steps toward that future were made this week, the most obvious of which is the founding of a new non-profit organization dedicated to investigative journalism, created by former Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel publisher John Christie.
In a recent column, I wrote that Maine was sixth in the nation in the financial burden we place on students in higher education, based on a study conducted in 2006.
Since then, I've received some education myself. It turns out we're actually fourth.
Maine has a long history of citizen involvement in local politics, so it's no surprise that many Maine towns now have resident bloggers writing about local issues. That loud guy in the audience at town meetings can now continue his rants on the internet.
Matt Gagnon has been on a roll lately. The Virginia-based Republican who authors the Pine Tree Politics blog has been posting interesting and informative updates regularly for the past few weeks and has been asking important questions like "Where the heck is Dawn Hill?"
For years, lawmakers and political pundits in Maine were obsessed with one number; the state’s ranking by the Tax Foundation, showing Maine residents paying one of the highest percentages of their income in taxes of any state.
In 2008 the Foundation fixed the way it calculated tax rates and reran the numbers from the past decade. It turned out that Maine was actually fifteenth in the nation in taxes and only .3% off the national average. At no time had the state ever been higher than fifth.
Eliot Cutler has had a career that’s taken him from his home state of Maine to Washington D.C. to Beijing and back again. He’s now seeking to use that experience to claim the Blaine House and become the third independent governor in Maine’s history.
Two other independents, James B. Longley in 1974 and Angus King in 1994, have successfully navigated the path that Cutler is hoping to follow.
(In case you missed it: part 1)
The glory of victory, the agony of defeat, all ahead as the winners of the 2009 election prediction betting pool are announced.
First, however, is Question 3.
With .0019% of the vote still outstanding (according the Bangor Daily News), I'm finally ready to call the winners of the 2009 Maine Election Pool.
If I were going for complete accuracy, I might have waited until all the votes were in, or perhaps until they were certified by the Secretary of State, but a certain journalist with mob connections has been threatening me to get this done and I don't want to end up sleeping with the fishes.