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How beavers became a campaign issue in a Bangor-area Maine Senate race — Daily Brief — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

How beavers became a campaign issue in a Bangor-area Maine Senate race — Daily Brief — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine

Ashley L. Conti | BDN

Ashley L. Conti | BDN

Democratic state Sen. Geoff Gratwick mingles with Emily Cain helps on the Hilton Backyard Inn in Bangor Tuesday night.

By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
October 25, 2018 Eight:59 am

Up to date: October 25, 2018 9:02 am

Good morning from Augusta. In the event you reside in Bangor, you might have gotten a mailer yesterday blaring that the Democratic state senator there’s “GUILTY!” of partially unspecified felony and moral lapses — together with a 2001 episode in which he unlawfully eliminated two beaver traps.

The mailer from Republican Jim LaBrecque, a Bangor refrigeration technician who has been a formal and casual power adviser and ally to Gov. Paul LePage, shook up a sleepy race towards Sen. Geoff Gratwick, D-Bangor, that celebration teams are barely contesting money-wise in 2018.

However the district in Bangor and Hermon has performed host to nasty races earlier than, and LaBrecque says the Republican governor will seem at a rally for his candidacy 5 days earlier than the election. However LaBrecque’s flyer decrying Gratwick’s moral issues seems to have minor moral points itself.

The Gratwick episodes that LaBrecque highlights in the broadside are minor — so far as crimes and Maine Ethics Fee fines go. LaBrecque’s mailer — which he stated was despatched to just about 19,000 individuals — accuses Democrats and the Bangor Daily News of suppressing details about Gratwick. The chief incident cited on the mailer is a well-publicized incident from 2001 in which he was convicted of a misdemeanor crime and fined $238 for tampering with beaver traps in his neighborhood — of all issues.

The brief model? Beavers took over a small pond in a residential neighborhood. Neighbors favored it. Gratwick led an effort to publish the land that the beavers have been on. However it turned out that it wasn’t authorized to submit. Gratwick ended up eradicating two traps set by a Bangor man, which is a Class E misdemeanor in Maine. In the long run, the trapper acquired his three beavers.

Gratwick additionally has been cited by the Maine Ethics Fee, however his foul was largely minor. In early 2017, he was fined by the watchdog company after disclosing a $9,500 expenditure late in his 2016 race. He chalked it as much as a clerical error and the fee lowered his most penalty of $5,000 to $200 — one thing the fee does often.

Different points in the mailer are extra esoteric. LaBrecque stated references to constitutional violations in the flyer have been to Gratwick pushing non-emergency payments in legislative periods reserved by the Structure for emergency payments — although legislators from each events, typically on behalf of the governor, routinely submit payments that might be onerous to outline as emergencies. The flyer additionally blames the Democrat for egging on assaults towards former state Sen. Nichi Farnham, a Republican whom Gratwick beat in a nasty, pricey 2012 race.

LaBrecque is looking out ‘a pattern of behavior.’ Gratwick stated the mailer made him ‘very sad.’ When requested why he highlighted these points, LaBrecque stated it was due to a “pattern of behavior” and he needed to go to Augusta to “make you some real good news and say, ‘We’re cleaning up that kind of stuff.’”

For his half, Gratwick stated the mailer made him “very sad” and whereas he broke the regulation over the beaver traps and “you have to accept the consequences” of that, the substantive points raised have been low-lying. He stated there’s a “more constructive way of talking about my record.”

John Hiatt of Bangor, LaBrecque’s campaign treasurer and a candidate for Penobscot County treasurer and faculty board, stated he didn’t agree with the mailer — which names him —  or know that was going out earlier than it did. He stated that the ethics fee has knowledgeable him of a minor issue with the flyer — which has a disclosure saying it was “paid for by the candidate” as an alternative of noting that it was LaBrecque’s campaign committee — funded by Clear Election cash — that paid for it.

Hiatt stated it was an “innocent mistake” and LaBrecque stated he did nothing deliberately improper. However it illustrates the pitfalls that candidates can face once they rush out mailers like this.

In any case this, LaBrecque is holding an occasion on Nov. 1 at Husson College to go over Gratwick’s previous. He stated LePage continues to be confirmed for the occasion, although spokespeople for the Republican governor hadn’t confirmed that by this morning.


Have to compensate for legislative races? We’ve acquired you

Mainers will vote in 186 legislative elections this yr. Whereas a few of the 151 Maine Home races are uncontested, voters in most districts may have decisions — as would be the case in all 35 Senate races. The BDN requested every candidate on the poll to reply questions on points the subsequent Legislature is more likely to face. For responses from Maine Senate candidates, click on right here. For responses from Home candidates, click on right here. If candidates who curiosity you didn’t reply, bug them to take action and we’ll add their solutions.

Control our map monitoring outdoors spending in these races to see the most well liked ones. Our nifty outdoors spending tracker, which updates twice every day for the gubernatorial and legislative races, can be buzzing alongside via Election Day. It’s the easiest way to gauge the place the events see their alternatives and vulnerabilities.

Main the surface spending race in the Maine Senate is the open-seat contest between Assistant Home Minority Chief Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, and doctor Ned Claxton, a Democrat from Auburn. It’s the uncommon election the place Republicans are outspending Democrats with $240,000 dumped into the race general. No different race has gone above $171,000.

Within the Home, a handful of races are close to one another atop the get together precedence lists. The costliest one is in Skowhegan, the place $19,000 has been spent principally by Democrats to defend first-term Rep. Betty Austin from Republican challenger Anne Amadon. Democrats have additionally spent a lot of the $18,000 complete in a bid to exchange Rep. Richard Bradstreet, R-Vassalboro, with Stephen Ball of Windsor.


Studying record

— LePage turned a authorized feud with Maine’s lawyer common towards her upcoming race to exchange him. Lawyer Basic Janet Mills, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is in a multi-front courtroom battle over her workplace’s energy with the Republican governor, who’s ramping up a messaging campaign round these points because the campaign winds down. On Wednesday, his legal professionals responded to a Mills lawsuit over LePage’s withholding of hundreds of thousands in funds to her workplace for authorized providers to state businesses. LePage needs Mills to invoice businesses with itemized invoices, which she says would break with precedent and be unnecessarily pricey. LePage went additional in a radio look and assertion, saying Mills is “acting exactly like Hillary Clinton acted with her emails” and questioning her potential to steer the state.

— The hotly contested transmission line from Canada to Massachusetts by way of western Maine is predicted to crest $1 billion in value. The $950 million price ticket to construct a transmission line routing hydropower from Canada to Massachusetts by means of western Maine is more likely to surpass $1.1 billion as soon as curiosity is factored in, based on regulatory filings. Although Massachusetts ratepayers will foot the hefty invoice for the New England Clear Power Join as a result of they’ll profit from it, the venture continues to trigger skepticism amongst many Mainers — together with the 4 gubernatorial candidates — who fear about its invasiveness and lack of payoff.

— Ticks are decimating New England’s moose inhabitants, however the herd in northern Maine continues to be robust due to colder temperatures. A research in the Canadian Journal of Zoology examined 125 moose calves that died in Maine and New Hampshire, saying almost 90 % of the deaths and a decline in birthrates have been brought on by ticks. On common, researchers discovered 47,000 ticks on every calf and a researcher advised the Related Press that ticks can take most of a moose calf’s blood inside three weeks. Maine’s moose inhabitants has fallen barely through the previous 5 years, however New Hampshire’s small one has declined by 50 %. The research didn’t look at northern Maine, the place biologists say the herd is more healthy due to colder temperatures and prolonged snow cowl.


A born Wildcat

Final week, I used to be outed for not having but declared my baseball allegiances. Undoubtedly your minds ran wild: who is that this individual we’re trusting to ship our information? At greatest I needed to be a tepid Purple Sox fan by sheer proximity, one who cheers confidently if the Sox are on at a bar, however who might care much less about voicing any fandom in the sober mild of day. At worst, I used to be a Yankees fan scared of the fallout from my boss and colleague, who gained’t shut up concerning the Pink Sox.

Earlier than I clear the air, let me offer you some context.

In Kentucky, the place I grew up, many individuals’s sports activities allegiance begins (and typically ends) with school basketball. Mine prolonged no additional than the College of Kentucky Wildcats. I’ve by no means recognized both of my mother and father to be followers of another group, and that was imprinted on me. Like most followers, I suppose, my grandmother presents my dad UK males’s basketball stat and trivia books on Christmas. A few of the first names I keep in mind retaining as a child, outdoors of family and friends, have been the coaches of UK. As an Eight-year-old, in 1996, when UK gained the NCAA championship beneath coach Rick Pitino, I keep in mind watching the TV with my mother and father because the gamers cried and minimize down the nets whereas “One Shining Moment” performed. Now, throughout visits residence, my mother is nearly assured to seem sooner or later from her closet holding a worn UK shirt and ask, “Do you need one?”

In scripting this out, these situations appear strikingly unremarkable. Don’t most followers keep in mind key moments in their favourite staff’s historical past? In fact. However a part of what I’ve not realized, truthfully, till proper now, is how gently that fervor was folded into my childhood. Seeing the phrase Kentucky written out, I advised somebody as soon as, feels as acquainted as studying my final identify. My standing as a fan wasn’t actually a selection, it simply was.

As a New England transplant and cognizant grownup, I really feel much less that method concerning the Pink Sox, as a result of they don’t seem to be mine, although I watched all however one of many video games in the ALCS and obtained a depraved quantity of satisfaction when L.A. Dodgers pitcher Ryan Madson walked Steve Pearce, forcing in Christian Vazquez to tie final night time’s recreation.

True staff affinity, for me, arrives regularly over time, in any other case it feels appropriated and insincere. My affection for the Pink Sox continues to be fledgling, however it’s there and it’s rising. Right here’s your soundtrack. — Alex Acquisto

At this time’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. Should you’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.

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