Steve Rowe was the first Democrat to officially announce his candidacy for governor in June of last year. He had been planning a run for much longer than that.
“It was probably around two years ago when I decided I really wanted to do this,” explains Rowe. “I thought about it three or four years ago, but it was two years ago that I decided I really wanted to.”
How better to kill an hour or two at this ghastly time of year, when the landscape has taken on the colors of a road-killed squirrel, than to hop in the car and head out for the hinterlands?
In an email to supporters today, Green Independent candidate Lynne Williams announced that she will no longer seek clean elections funds.
In her note, Williams makes a half-hearted attempt to claim that she's making the change out of respect for the state's budget woes. The email is titled "Our campaign won't use tax money" and she writes that "in the end, in light of the current fiscal mismanagement we're seeing in Augusta, I could not, in good conscience, take public money that might be better used to help people in real need."
Maine has a long history of legislators switching parties or dropping their affiliation to become unenrolled. In 2006, Maine House member Barbara Merrill left the Democrats, tying the parties and threating Democratic control of the chamber. The issue was only resolved when another switcher, Rep. Joanne Twomey, rejoined the Democratic caucus to give them a majority.
The Maine governor's race has now officially kicked into gear. The fields are set, debates are happening, and the first television ads are hitting the airwaves. Unfortunately, with more than a dozen significant candidates in the race and no real independent polling, it's hard to tell which campaigns are doing well and which are tanking.
With the release of the January fundraising reports, however, we can now begin to get a better picture of some aspects of the race.
Pity John Baldacci. Our poor governor had to stand up there last night and deliver his final State of the State address in the depths of a recession that has blown a half-billion-dollar hole in the Maine state budget.
Much about the future of political journalism in Maine and America is murky, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear: a great deal of the public interest and political reporting of tomorrow won't be making money, and it won't be meant to.
Several steps toward that future were made this week, the most obvious of which is the founding of a new non-profit organization dedicated to investigative journalism, created by former Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel publisher John Christie.
In a recent column, I wrote that Maine was sixth in the nation in the financial burden we place on students in higher education, based on a study conducted in 2006.
Since then, I've received some education myself. It turns out we're actually fourth.
Maine has a long history of citizen involvement in local politics, so it's no surprise that many Maine towns now have resident bloggers writing about local issues. That loud guy in the audience at town meetings can now continue his rants on the internet.
Matt Gagnon has been on a roll lately. The Virginia-based Republican who authors the Pine Tree Politics blog has been posting interesting and informative updates regularly for the past few weeks and has been asking important questions like "Where the heck is Dawn Hill?"