Good morning from Augusta. It was an fascinating Thursday for U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, when her 2020 re-election marketing campaign picked up an endorsement from a average Democratic colleague and a nationally recognized potential opponent declined to run towards her.
The endorsement from U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and the choice from Susan Rice, the previous U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, are greater curiosities to a national political audience than a Maine one. They underscore a deep nationalization of the 2020 U.S. Senate race here that may in all probability be the priciest campaign in state historical past.
Manchin is an atypically average Democrat, and he and Collins share comparable data. In a C-SPAN interview on Thursday, Manchin stated he would “go up and campaign for Susan Collins” and it “would be an absolute shame” to lose her in the Senate. He noted that he’d be making fellow Democrats unhappy by saying that a few Republican senator in a nationally focused race in 2020.
However the context of the endorsement makes it much less shocking. Manchin is a average who survived re-election final yr in a purple state that President Donald Trump gained by a much bigger margin than some other in 2016. In the last Congress, VoteView ranked him as probably the most conservative Senate Democrat and Collins as probably the most liberal Republican.
The two are longtime allies who’ve worked on many issues together. Just after Collins made her high-profile October announcement that she would vote for U.S. Supreme Courtroom Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Manchin confirmed that he’d vote for Trump’s nominee as properly. More than another, that vote has made Collins a Democratic goal in 2020.
Collins was endorsed in 2014 by U.S. Sen. Angus King, an unbiased who caucuses with Democrats and is more liberal than Manchin, but that election wasn’t actually contested by national Democrats and Collins gained a fourth term simply. Moves like it will give Collins ammunition to burnish the average credentials that Democrats try to neutralize.
Collins might not have her first high-profile Democratic challenger till the early summer time. In the words of the Associated Press, Rice “tantalized” nationwide Democrats by floating a potential Senate candidacy after Collins’ vote on Kavanaugh, although she virtually instantly seemed to walk it back. Her late mother was born in Portland and she or he is a trustee of her mom’s residence in Lincolnville.
While she would have lent some nationwide star power to the race, her check balloon was by no means taken too critically by Maine Democrats and it’s unprecedented in Maine politics to ascend to high office with no political historical past in the state. Things appeared to fizzle after she appeared at an October fundraiser for Gov. Janet Mills. She stated at a New York Metropolis occasion on Thursday that she wouldn’t run, though she didn’t rule out a future run in Maine or elsewhere.
Home Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, is seen as the likeliest Collins challenger by most observers. In a Thursday textual content message, she stated there is no strict time-frame for a choice on operating, saying she’s fulfilling legislative duties “with full focus this session.” That would appear to indicate a choice after the 2019 legislative session, which is scheduled for June.
A poll final month by Crucial Insights confirmed Collins leading Gideon with 51 % help to 29 %, however 40 % of voters didn’t know enough about Gideon to guage her. Collins is sitting on a $4.four million struggle chest driven by giant, out-of-state donors that is effectively matched by nation Democratic crowdfunds promised to assist an eventual Collins opponent after the Kavanaugh vote.
The eventual Democratic nominee might not should work arduous to seek out money both on a nationwide 2020 map that leaves Democrats with few higher pick-up opportunities than Maine — which is still an uphill one.
At the moment in A-town
The Legislature’s watchdog group meets this morning, and it might name for a evaluate of Maine’s indigent legal providers system. The consideration is a holdover merchandise from a meeting final month, but in the interim, the Sixth Amendment Middle released a crucial research on the state system, which supplies authorized representation to indigent individuals accused of crimes. The group final week stated it had “serious concerns” over the shortage of monetary oversight and safeguards inside the system, which serves in its place for a state defender’s office. Tune in right here.
Right now is also Mills’ 100th day in office — should you rely her inauguration day. To have fun, she plans to sign a bill into regulation at 1 p.m. in her office that may guard towards wage discrimination. LD 278, from Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, bars future employers from asking about prospective staff’ wage or compensation history earlier than extending a job supply. Violation of the new provision might outcome in a high-quality as much as $500.
— A bill from Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, to revive certain social providers for non-citizens in Maine is anticipated to draw a crowd this morning earlier than the Committee on Well being and Human Providers. The bill aims to revive entry to state-funded meals help packages, the Momentary Assistance for Needy Households program and Medicaid advantages for income-eligible immigrants who lawfully stay in Maine and are in search of authorized standing. This consists of asylum seekers awaiting approval and immigrants ready for authorization to work. Pay attention here.
— A bundle of county jail funding bills will come before the Felony Justice and Public Safety Committee this afternoon for a possible vote. A lot of the five payments range slightly, however two would require the state to fund a minimum of 20 % of the operating value for each county jail.
The committee may even think about a invoice from House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham, R-Oxford, that may impose a waiting period before regulation enforcement officers make public the names of victims of crimes or accidents. Pay attention here.
— State power regulators granted a key allow to Central Maine Power’s $1 billion hydropower transmission challenge. The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously Thursday to grant CMP the wanted certificates of public convenience and necessity for its venture, saying the advantages of the venture outweigh its prices and detriments. The three commissioners agreed with their employees’s suggestion on March 29. CMP nonetheless should win approval from other state and federal regulatory businesses, and opponents will continue to battle the venture on multiple fronts. Starks turned the newest city alongside the hall’s path to formally categorical opposition.
— Republican efforts to tinker with Maine’s minimum wage regulation fizzled in the Maine House of Representatives. Four Republican-sponsored payments aimed toward slowing voter-approved will increase in the minimum wage or providing different types of aid to employers lost in flooring votes Thursday, as majority Democrats solidly voted towards them. The minimum wage has been a partisan flashpoint in the Legislature for years, with Republicans arguing that it harms small businesses, particularly in rural Maine. Whereas Democrats counter that raising the minimum wage advantages the overall financial picture for most Mainers.
— One other small Maine hospital has made huge modifications in an effort to adapt to fiscal challenges. Pen Bay Medical Middle in Rockport ended 2018 with a small surplus after recording more than $15 million in losses through the two earlier years. Hospital executives recruited more main care practitioners, expanded pediatrics and gastroenterology providers and found $2 million in operational savings final yr. Administrators will attempt to find $2 million more in financial savings this yr as they work to improve the hospital’s score while including workplace area for physicians and probably an pressing care middle.
— The president apparently tried to have individuals held by immigration officials launched in places that might harm his political adversaries. The Washington Submit reviews that White Home officials proposed transporting detained immigrants to sanctuary cities at the very least twice in the past six months – as soon as in November, as a migrant caravan approached the U.S. southern border, and once more in February, amid a standoff with Democrats over funding for Trump’s border wall.
Maine’s most annoying holiday
The state vacation that Mainers will rejoice on Monday has vexed editors for years. The vacation’s official title in Maine is Patriot’s Day, with the apostrophe earlier than the S. Technically, meaning we are celebrating only one patriot.
Massachusetts, the one different state to watch the holiday that honors colonists who launched the struggle for independence on the battles of Lexington and Harmony, spells it Patriots’ Day, utilizing the plural possessive. Whereas I hate to admit it, that makes rather a lot more sense.
Previous legislative efforts to adjust Maine statute in order that the vacation might honor a number of patriots have fizzled. I might recommend that we dump the apostrophe altogether, provided that the vacation honors patriots however is not owned by them — however that’s next-level nerdery that might by no means survive the legislative course of.
In each states, the vacation replaced Fast Day, an observance dedicated to atonement that dated to the 17th century. To permit us to atone for our mistakes — and since state government will probably be closed — Daily Brief won’t be revealed Monday. It can return on Tuesday, April 16. Here is your soundtrack. And right here’s a bonus soundtrack for those of you who spell it Patriots’ Day.— Robert Lengthy
Republicans in Cumberland and Grey have picked KC Hughes of Cumberland, who runs a Portland screenprinting enterprise, to run in a June 11 particular election to exchange former Rep. Dale Denno, who resigned last month. Thursday’s model of the Daily Brief didn’t embrace him alongside the Democratic candidate, former Rep. Stephen Moriarty of Cumberland.
In the present day’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Long. When you’re reading this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click right here to obtain Maine’s leading publication on state politics by way of e mail on weekday mornings. Click right here to subscribe to the BDN.
To succeed in us, do not reply directly to this text, however e-mail us immediately at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.