Micky Bedell | BDN; Robert F. Bukaty | AP
By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
October 23, 2018 eight:59 am
Up to date: October 23, 2018 10:02 am
Good morning from Augusta. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine’s 2nd District and Assistant Maine Home Majority Chief Jared Golden squabbled in their first debate early this month over who was the most important liar and that struggle has sustained itself on the airwaves.
Outright lies exist in politics, however we’d warning you that the most typical messaging techniques in heated races are exaggerations, stretches and context-free half-truths. That’s largely what’s going on right here. We thought it might be useful to interrupt down a few of these claims being levied by Poliquin, a Republican, and Golden, a Democrat, as we speak.
Does Poliquin help rolling again protections for individuals with pre-existing circumstances? He has lengthy stated no, however … This has been one of many core points in loads of congressional races nationally this yr, together with in the 2nd District. Golden had an entire advert about it. The rhetoric over it has solely modified somewhat since Poliquin’s first 2nd District marketing campaign in 2014.
The Republican advocated for repeal of the Reasonably priced Care Act early on, however his solutions turned extra nuanced later — or at the very least upon a better examination. Poliquin got here round to principally advocating a partial repeal whereas praising the well being care regulation’s safety for individuals with pre-existing circumstances — which he says consists of his asthmatic son.
In 2017, he voted for Home Republicans’ plan to switch the Reasonably priced Care Act. Whereas the plan was written in a approach that appeared to guard pre-existing protection protections, well being coverage specialists and the nonpartisan Congressional Finances Workplace stated it might have allowed insurers to boost charges excessive sufficient in order that protection can be unaffordable. Gov. Paul LePage — who’s extra conservative than Poliquin — didn’t like that.
This blueprint or one thing else prefer it by no means turned regulation, leaving us to argue about what might have occurred. Poliquin has vocalized help for masking individuals with pre-existing circumstances, however his vote might even have labored towards them.
Poliquin says Golden supported ‘taxpayer-funded needles for drug users.’ It was an trade program that plenty of Republicans backed. That declare — which we’ve tackled earlier than in Daily Brief — resurfaced in a brand new Poliquin TV advert that we caught final night time. It revolves round a invoice that handed the Maine Legislature in 2016 that allowed the Maine Division of Well being and Human Providers to certify and present funding to needle change packages, that are confirmed to scale back the danger of contracting infections amongst individuals who inject medicine.
The invoice was sponsored by a Republican — Rep. Karen Vachon of Scarborough — and it survived a LePage veto, which required bipartisan help for the invoice. Funding was additionally devoted to this effort in 2018 in one other Vachon-led bipartisan effort over LePage’s veto.
Poliquin has lengthy saying he needs to protect Social Safety and Medicare. What’s his document? In 2014, Poliquin’s marketing campaign web site stated he needed to protect Social Safety and Medicare advantages for individuals already in or quickly to be in the system, whereas being open to elevating eligibility ages for individuals in the longer term. He has successfully caught to that preservation line of late whereas representing the oldest a part of the nation’s oldest state by median age.
However these are nonetheless marketing campaign points in 2018, simply as they have been in 2016. Nevertheless, he voted for a 2015 Republican finances define that focused billions in Social Safety financial savings over 10 years and would have turned Medicare right into a voucher system for brand spanking new enrollees. It by no means turned regulation and Poliquin has once more been vocally constant on the difficulty, however the vote is there nonetheless.
No, a progressive group that backed Golden doesn’t need to bar you from shopping for fuel and heating oil. That is additionally in the brand new Poliquin advert and it’s a whopper. He hits Golden for his endorsement from the Maine Individuals’s Alliance, a liberal group that’s the principal backer of Query 1, the common house care referendum on the November poll that’s opposed by all 4 gubernatorial candidates.
Nevertheless, the Poliquin advert goes too far when saying the group would “stop Mainers from purchasing home heating oil, natural gas or even gasoline.” The group requested candidates this yr whether or not they would help a ban on new fossil gasoline infrastructure or plans to succeed in 100 % clear power by 2050 with “a just transition” for individuals — indicating that even when this occurred, it wouldn’t come as a fast ban.
In fact, this wouldn’t be workable in the brief time period, as Maine has traditionally been one of many states that’s most reliant on heating oil. Mike Tipping, a spokesman for the Maine Individuals’s Alliance, referred to as Poliquin’s assertion “the most ridiculous thing.”
This can be a shut and nationally focused race, so we will anticipate extra of any such wrangling over the subsequent two weeks and we’ll be maintaining a tally of it.
— The governor continues his authorized battle with the lawyer common. LePage, who has clashed with Janet Mills typically all through her tenure as lawyer basic, on Monday requested the Maine Supreme Judicial Courtroom to overturn Superior Courtroom Justice Michaela Murphy’s ruling towards him in his argument that Mills went “rogue” by involving Maine in out-of-state lawsuits with out his permission or that of the Legislature. Along with being the newest chapter in a long-running energy wrestle between the governor and Maine’s lawyer common, who’s elected by the Legislature, the attraction has marketing campaign implications. It gave LePage a chance to accuse Mills of “unscrupulous behavior” and “cronyism” not lengthy after a brand new public ballot confirmed the Democrat main the four-way race to succeed him.
— Monday night time’s televised 1st District debate provided a marked distinction to different congressional race debates in Maine this yr. As an alternative of calling one another liars or incessantly attacking the incumbent, because the celebration challengers did in Monday morning’s U.S. Senate radio debate, the three candidates in the first District conversed with moderator Pat Callaghan and one another in principally cordial tones throughout Monday’s one-hour debate on Maine’s NBC associates. Republican Mark Holbrook and unbiased Marty Grohman spent extra time chiding one another than five-term incumbent U.S. Rep; Chellie Pingree, who holds a large lead in public polling. The again and forth between Holbrook and Grohman highlights the unbiased’s efforts to draw help from Republicans as a part of a technique to make use of ranked-choice voting to upset Pingree.
— LePage’s delayed mentioning of a visit to Spain final week stirs suspicion. Earlier than his lengthy weekend at a world commerce convention in Iceland final week, LePage made a pit cease in Spain final Tuesday morning to satisfy with house owners of Central Maine Energy. His journey to Iceland was introduced by employees beforehand in element, however they omitted point out of a cease in Spain till yesterday, although it’s not atypical, because the governor doesn’t are likely to publicize his journey schedules. LePage met with Iberdrola Chairman and CEO Ignacio Galan to debate “ways to lower energy costs for Maine ratepayers,” LePage spokeswoman Julie Rabinowitz stated Monday. Iberdrola, headquartered in Bilbao, Spain, is almost all shareholder of Avangrid, of which CMP is a subsidiary. Rabinowitz didn’t reply to questions concerning the timing of the journey, or whether or not the dialog concerned speak of the controversial 145-mile CMP transmission line from Canada to Massachusetts that’s proposed to bifurcate western Maine. Avangrid spokeswoman Gail Rice chalked it as much as timing. A few month in the past, Galan was in the U.S. for a board assembly and had “asked to meet with the governor at that time, but unfortunately [LePage] was not available,” Rice stated in an e mail. LePage, on his worldwide journey final week, “asked to meet with Mr. Galan, and the schedules worked out.”
— An embattled candidate for district lawyer in three Maine counties has new authorized woes. A decide ordered Seth Carey, the Republican candidate in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties, to haven’t any contact together with his former girlfriend. The Lewiston Solar Journal reported that the lady sought the safety order towards Carey final week. She reportedly accused Carey of stalking her. Carey gained a Republican main in June regardless of having his license suspended and the state social gathering calling on him to drop out. His regulation license was suspended in the spring after a lady accused him of sexual assault. Carey faces a listening to on Nov. 14 to find out whether or not he will probably be disbarred or face different punishment associated to the alleged sexual assault. To serve or be elected district lawyer, Maine regulation requires that one be a member of the state bar. Carey is operating towards incumbent Democrat Andrew Robinson.
— The Bangor Mall is value much less, in response to two assessors. The town of Bangor lowered the worth of the mall’s leasable area by 22 % for fiscal 2019, which began July 1, 2018. It dropped the worth to $47.four million as of April 1, 2018, from $60.9 million as of April 1, 2017, in accordance with fiscal 2019 assessed values offered by the Bangor assessor’s workplace. In the meantime, the enterprise tasked with managing the mall in August dropped the appraised worth to $17.three million from the $28.9 million appraised in October 2017. The brand new valuations imply the mall can pay much less in taxes, however additionally they spotlight looming challenges as two key anchor shops have leases that expire inside 18 months.
Voices for the voters
To honor the reminiscence of our former colleague Chris Cousins — who had the sensible potential to seek out the right soundtrack for each political event — we proceed to watch the convergence of music and politics. Two current developments caught our eye.
Maine rapper Spose will maintain a free live performance for Zak Ringelstein, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, from three p.m. to five p.m. Saturday in Portland’s Fort Allen Park. Spose’s 2010 music “I’m Awesome” spent a while on the Billboard Scorching 100, and — aside from the F bombs, drug references, sexual innuendo and speak about ugly physique hair — it appears an applicable anthem for nearly any trendy American political candidate. Truly, perhaps the F bombs, drug references, and so on., make it an ideal anthem for these political occasions.
In the meantime, phrase reached us final week that veteran singer, songwriter and drug tradition survivor David Crosby has joined the advisory board of NORML, the Nationwide Group for the Reform of Marijuana Legal guidelines. The transfer comes as Maine tiptoes into the period of retail marijuana gross sales after a prolonged political wrangle — and it revived reminiscences of a long-ago story.
Again on the flip of the 21st century, Augusta muralist, musician and all-around fascinating individual Jane Burke — who lived in an eclectically adorned trailer close to the State Home and dyed half of her hair white and half of her hair black whereas performing songs from the album Pop Tart — was contracted to color murals on the Islesboro residence of actor Kirstie Alley. Crosby — who has struggled mightily with habit — was hanging out and supposedly drying out at Alley’s home whereas Burke was doing her work there.
She specializes in trompe l’oeil and uncommon animal work, and the story goes that Crosby spent weeks serenading her as she painted monkeys sporting spectacles and different oddities on the partitions of considered one of Maine’s costliest island houses. I’m unsure what it has to do with politics, nevertheless it positive conjures intriguing pictures. Right here is your Maine artist soundtrack — Robert Lengthy
As we speak’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. For those who’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.