Maine Election News: Assessing the Aftermath
Thank goodness that’s finally over.
The ridiculous statements.
The endless advertising.
The fierce competition and the bitter recriminations once the results were final.
Yes, the World Series is done for another year.
Wait, what did you think I meant?
The election? There was an election?
I was so exhausted after staying up late for the last month watching the baseball playoffs that I didn’t pay attention to much of anything else.
Did something interesting happen?
I mean besides a new Republican governor and a GOP takeover of both chambers of the Maine Legislature, which gave that party simultaneous control of the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Governor-elect Paul LePage graduated from high school.
In other election news, Portland voters decided to change the city charter to create an elected mayor.
As soon as the results were announced, approximately 813 people announced they were planning to run for the post in next year’s election. That doesn’t include John Jenkins, former mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn, who said he was considering a write-in campaign for the job, after which he might run for mayor of Bangor. Or Saco.
Jenkins just completed a write-in bid for governor, garnering more votes in Androscoggin County than did independent Kevin Scott, who was actually on the ballot. Scott did manage to beat Jenkins everywhere else, although he didn’t manage to beat anyone else.
Eliot Cutler, another independent, experienced a late surge of support that pushed him into second place in the gubernatorial contest, allowing him to lose gracefully.
Depending on your definition of the word “gracefully.”
In his concession speech, Cutler suggested the state change the rules to prevent people from voting early, because most people who voted early didn’t vote for him. He also advocated for requiring a run-off election if the leading candidate got less than 50 percent of the vote. Unless he was the leading candidate. And Cutler, who was the subject of attacks from a now-defunct anonymous Web site called “The Secret File on Eliot Cutler,” is still pursuing a complaint before the state ethics commission asking that he be allowed to disembowel the parties responsible.
The wealthy Cape Elizabeth lawyer/lobbyist also promised to remain active in state issues by buying Oxford County and selling it to the Chinese.
Speaking of Oxford County, voters statewide approved allowing a casino there, but only by the narrowest of margins.
Gambling opponents are considering calling for a recount because they lost a ton of money betting with Las Vegas bookies that this proposal would fail.
Biddeford voters also gave the OK to building a casino and racetrack in their city, but, according to state law, that measure still must be approved by the Legislature, the governor, at least eleven certified candidates for mayor of Portland, the winning pitcher in the last game of the most recent World Series, and an elf.
And not the Keebler elf, either. It has to be a real elf.
One final election footnote: In Bangor, where poll wardens apparently have a lot of time on their hands, one of them came up with a creative new rule for voters who happen to be police officers.
They can’t cast a ballot if they’re carrying their guns.
Wayne Mallar, the poll warden in question, seems to have found a justification for that prohibition in an obscure volume of state law. Mallar stopped a cop in uniform from voting, citing a heretofore unknown ordinance, which says that for purposes of approving a racino, the Keebler elf will not be considered a real elf.
Oops, wrong statute. The one about gun-toting police in voting booths is in a different volume, one that legal experts refer to by the term “imaginary.”
Subsequently, Mallar was told by the Bangor city clerk that his services would not be required for the remainder of the election season. The cop was coaxed back to the polling place with a doughnut, where he cast an early ballot, much to the chagrin of Eliot Cutler.
With the political campaigns finally over, it’s time to turn our attention to the next seasonal event, the annual contest to see who can celebrate the Christmas season by putting up the most over-the-top display of holiday lights.
Since 2006, some residents of Vista Drive in Auburn have been hosting a huge multi-household panorama of flashing Yuletide cheer, all coordinated with music you can tune in to on your car radio.
It’s sort of like if Mannheim Steamroller lived next door to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and they invited the Central Maine Power elf over to run some power cords and LED strings up and down the street.
Except CMP doesn’t have an elf, so don’t think that’s an easy way to get your racino approved.
In any case, all this activity has attracted the attention of the authorities. That’s right, poll wardens from Bangor are monitoring the site to make sure no police officers with guns watch the display.
In addition, the Auburn City Council (motto: John Jenkins Slept Here) are considering requiring anyone who operates a public display that could attract Mannheim Steamroller fans to provide security so those weirdos don’t bother normal people.
Also the Council is considering assessing fees on the homeowners who put on big Christmas-light displays to cover traffic-control costs.
No, really. For once, I’m not making something up.
A decision on this controversial plan is on hold while councilors consult with their resident elf.
OK, I might have made that part up.
Once the matter of lighting is settled, Christmas can proceed accordingly. But when it’s over, you’d best be prepared to be bombarded with another round of outrageous claims, broken promises and failed initiatives.
No, you dope, it’ll just be time for a new baseball season.
Al Diamon is getting some sleep now. When he wakes up he’ll answer your e-mails sent to email@example.com.