Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House is a weekly update that provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. If you would like more specific information regarding an item in this newsletter or related to government relations, please contact a member of our Government Relations Practice Group: John Delahanty, Andrea C. Maker, or Avery Day.
Maine Primary Day is Next Tuesday
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 is primary day, where voters will go to the polls to elect their party’s candidates to appear on the November ballot. The most discussed contest at the top of the ballot is who will be elected to represent the Republican and Democrat parties in the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Snowe. Republican voters will pick among six candidates: former Senate President Rick Bennett, businessman Scott D’Amboise, Senator Debra Plowman, Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, Attorney General Bill Schneider and Secretary of State Charlie Summers. Democrat voters will pick among four candidates: Senator Cynthia Dill, former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, Representative Jon Hinck and businessman Ben Pollard. Given that both of these races have a large field of candidates and the fact that low voter turnout is expected based on the small number voters requesting absentee ballots, it is very difficult to predict who will win on Tuesday. Getting supporters to the polls is seen as the key to victory next week.
There are also primary contests in the Republican Party between candidates seeking to run for the U.S. House. In the 1st Congressional District, merchant mariner Patrick Calder and Senator Jon Courtney will both be on the ballot Tuesday. In the 2nd Congressional District, Senate President Kevin Raye and naval veteran Blaine Richardson will face off next week.
Further down the ballot are a number of primaries for state Senate and House seats. Most of these races are local affairs that garner little attention outside of the districts in play. This week, however, there was some state-wide media attention directed to a few of these primary races due to reports of independent PAC expenditures in primaries in the Biddeford-Saco area. PAC spending at this point in the process is uncommon an may signal that political spending will reach new levels in Maine this election year.
Business-Friendly Communities Announced
This week, Governor LePage announced nine “business-friendly” communities. This is the first round of communities to be designated as “business-friendly” by a new program established by the LePage Administration. Nineteen towns were nominated but only nine received the “business-friendly” designation: Augusta, Bath, Biddeford, Brewer, Bucksport, Guilford, Lincoln, Saco and Sanford.
Towns nominated for this designation are evaluated for customer service, business involvement and collaboration, public opinion and licensing and permitting. A panel of seven people, including Pierce Atwood attorney Chuck Garceffa, performs these evaluations. The LePage Administration will continue this program in an effort to spur business-friendly reforms at the local level.