Troy R. Bennett | BDN
By Alex Acquisto and Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
November 13, 2018 eight:59 am
Up to date: November 13, 2018 9:29 am
Good morning from Augusta, the place election staff continued counting ballots forged in Maine’s tight 2nd Congressional District race via a lot of the vacation weekend after amassing them by hand from every precinct throughout the sprawling district.
In case you have been in another country, or in mattress with the flu final week and unable to learn the information, right here’s a recap of how Maine is making historical past as the primary state in the nation to use a ranked-choice tabulation course of for a federal race.
A ready recreation continues as state election staff put together ballots for a second tally. Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, operating for a 3rd time period, was unable to safe greater than 50 % of votes forged in his district, however did earn the slight majority at 46.three %. Nor was his chief opponent, Democrat Jared Golden, who raked in 45.6 %. Consequently, per the ranked-choice course of, if no candidate in a race earns greater than 50 % of the vote, different decrease scoring candidates in the race — in this case independents Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar — come into play.
Ballots forged by voters who chosen Bond or Hoar as their first selection will now be reallocated, with the second decisions listed on these ballots added to tallies of ballots that record Poliquin and Golden as first selection. On Friday, we reported that exit polling signifies nearly all of these Mainers who voted for Bond or Hoar ranked Golden over Poliquin.
By Tuesday morning, all ballots in Aroostook, Androscoggin, Franklin and Hancock counties had been tabulated, stated Kristen Muszynski, a spokeswoman for Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. She expects the tabulation course of in the seven remaining counties to be accomplished by the top of the week, however completion of the ranked-choice rely isn’t possible to finish this.
Poliquin, who claimed victory based mostly on Election Day totals, has maintained the ranked-choice course of is illegal underneath the state structure — an opinion additionally embraced by Gov. Paul LePage. The incumbent Republican, who stated Saturday he had “ongoing concerns” concerning the course of, is probably going to problem the tabulation outcomes if the race swings in Golden’s favor.
Both candidate could have 5 days to request a recount after launch of the up to date outcomes. Poliquin might additionally take LePage’s recommendation and problem the race outcomes in the state’s Supreme Judicial Courtroom or in federal courtroom.
We don’t but know the idea for a authorized problem if Poliquin have been to launch one. However his marketing campaign — and LePage in a Tuesday morning radio interview — hinted that it might, a minimum of in half, relaxation on claims that the precedent of electing members of Congress by plurality would trump ranked-choice voting. In 2011, a federal courtroom rejected a lawsuit claiming that San Francisco’s use of ranked-choice voting was unconstitutional.
At current, the arguments being made in Maine are extra geared to the courtroom of public opinion, however they might make their means to authorized arguments ought to Republicans take the matter to courtroom.
Poliquin’s marketing campaign, echoed by LePage, additionally raised considerations about poll safety, as all the ballots from 2nd District precincts have been transported by personal couriers to Augusta for the ranked-choice retabulation. However these claims depended completely on hypothesis and have been shortly dismissed by Dunlap on Monday. The rely will proceed as we speak.
The governor stated he would make a political return if his successor doesn’t fund Medicaid enlargement to his liking. LePage has been considerably diplomatic since Lawyer Common Janet Mills, his major nemesis in Augusta, gained final week’s election to succeed him as governor. He wished her “all the success in the world” in a Tuesday interview with WVOM, however solely after he laid out circumstances for a return bid for the Blaine Home.
The political battle dominating the governor’s final yr in workplace has been over Medicaid enlargement, which was authorised by voters final yr however stays unimplemented in a courtroom struggle between the LePage administration and advocates. Mills, a Democrat, has vowed to implement it instantly, however she has additionally pledged to not increase taxes in her first finances.
“If she doesn’t do it sustainably, I will run against her in four years,” LePage stated of the 2022 election.
It’s value noting that the governor has typically cried wolf on a second act in statewide politics. In 2015, he advised a conservative radio host he was contemplating a run towards U.S. Sen. Angus King. Then, he stated it was a joke. He proceeded to tease the run once more for months earlier than ruling it out in Might 2017. Simply over a month later, he cracked the door open to operating once more. However he ultimately endorsed state Sen. Eric Brakey, who misplaced to King, this previous summer time.
— Maine voters usually discovered ranked-choice voting straightforward to perceive. Exit polling carried out by the BDN in live performance with FairVote and Colby School discovered that greater than 75 % of individuals stated rating decisions was both considerably or very straightforward, in contrast with simply 10 % who stated it was both considerably or very exhausting, although 12.1 % of Republicans referred to as it very arduous to simply 2.6 % of Democrats. A a lot smaller proportion of respondents — 53.Four % — stated that ranked-choice voting must be expanded to be used in gubernatorial and legislative elections, with robust help amongst Democrats and opposition from Republicans.
— Maine elected a document variety of ladies to the Legislature. Maine Public reviews that, in addition to electing Democrat Janet Mills to be their first lady governor, Maine voters will ship 72 ladies to the Home and Senate when new lawmakers are sworn in subsequent month. That’s a rise of eight over the the variety of ladies serving in the present Legislature, nevertheless it’s nonetheless lower than half of the 186 seats in the Legislature. We’ll know by the top of this week if extra ladies as lawmakers will imply extra ladies as legislative leaders. Within the Senate, which picked leaders final week, the gender breakdown will stay Four-to-1, with incoming Assistant Majority Chief Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, succeeding outgoing Assistant Majority Chief Amy Volk, R-Scarborough, as the one lady in the bunch. Home Republicans will decide their two leaders and Home Democrats will decide their three leaders later this week. The outgoing Home caucuses included one lady in Republican management and two ladies among the many three Democratic leaders.
— Army veterans who personal companies in Maine provided financial recommendation to the brand new governor. John Brier, 51, a U.S. Military and Massachusetts Guard veteran, has two companies and two houses in Maine, however he claims Florida residency. He urged Mills, who’s placing collectively a transition staff earlier than taking workplace in January, to concentrate on decreasing taxes and well being care prices. Rock Nadeau, 64, co-owner of the White Cedar Inn Mattress and Breakfast in Freeport, criticized LePage for saying he plans to transfer to Florida and urged Mills to assist Maine’s tourism business by taking steps to make the state extra welcoming, particularly to Canadians.
— Maine’s senior senator would help a Senate vote to shield the continued investigation of Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election. The Related Press stories that Republican Sen. Susan Collins needs the Senate to placed on report its help for particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, regardless that she is aware of President Donald Trump wouldn’t signal such a invoice. She additionally expressed concern concerning the appointment of Matt Whitaker as appearing lawyer common due to his feedback about setting parameters for the probe.
— On the subject of vote-counting shenanigans, a Portland Metropolis Council candidate needs a recount. Citing voting machine malfunctions in a number of precincts, Joey Brunelle has requested a recount after dropping his bid for an at-large seat on the council. Brunelle stated he was main race when voting machines malfunctioned, requiring that ballots be counted by hand hours after the polls closed. He narrowly misplaced to incumbent Councilor Nick Mavodones by about 700 votes, however he’s asking for a recount in three polling locations the place the machines malfunctioned. As a result of the margin was greater than 1 %, the town just isn’t required to conduct the recount.
It have to be the Yr of the Squirrel.
After what had to be a monumentally good mating season this spring, the pesky varmints have been in all places, prompting journalists all through the Northeast to write about their neighborhood-invading successes — and tire-dodging failures.
Then there was the Michael Phelps of squirrels caught on video in Maine waters. Certainly, it forebodes the creation of a rodent navy.
Our dearly departed pal and colleague, Chris Cousins — who engaged in epic wars with nut-chewing intruders — can be aghast and gearing up for an apocalyptic battle with the bushy-tailed hordes.
Now comes this viral video of a Minnesota teen performing CPR to revive a squirrel that had been struck by a automotive. He had higher luck than my sister, who as soon as discovered a frozen squirrel and introduced it house. She thought it might be a good suggestion to unfreeze it and convey it again to life by putting it in an oven set at 350 levels.
The flat, frozen furrball didn’t come again to life — and it took about 5 days to eliminate the roasted lifeless squirrel odor that permeated our kitchen.
For the Lazarus squirrel in Minnesota, right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
At this time’s Daily Brief was written by Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. When 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.
Correction: An earlier model of this report misstated the variety of seats in the Legislature.