Down East 2013 ©
They’re fishing in different pools, but sometimes they still catch the same fish.
The Maine League of Conservation Voters is the primary political action group for the state’s environmentalists, while the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s political action committee, SAM PAC, serves the same purpose for hunters, anglers, trappers, and gun enthusiasts.
Once upon a time the lists of endorsed candidates from MLCV and SAM were completely different. Today, the two groups have forged a new relationship, comparing candidate survey responses and looking for ways to work together.
In fact, the MLCV joined SAM and other groups as a sponsor of the Wildfire TV gubernatorial debate on hunting, fishing, and other outdoor issues. That debate will be aired three times in prime time during the third week of October by the Time Warner cable channel statewide: Saturday, October 16, from 4 to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, October 19, from 6 to 7 p.m.; and Thursday, October 21, from 9 to 10 p.m. The show will also be available online beginning on October 16 at www.wildfiremaine.tv . All five candidates participated in the one-hour debate that was taped on October 2.
Wildfire is hosted by Harry Vanderweide, editor of The Maine Sportsman magazine, and me.
Even with a much higher level of collaboration and cooperation, the list of legislative candidates endorsed by MLCV and SAM are very different.
MLCV continues to give short shrift to Republicans. Of the seventy-eight House candidates endorsed by MLCV, only three are Republicans. All three are incumbents: Representatives Pat Flood, Les Fossel, and Gary Knight.
The MLCV endorsed nineteen Senate candidates but only one Republican got the nod: incumbent Senator David Trahan.
SAM works harder to be nonpartisan. 63 percent of the sixty-eight House candidates endorsed by SAM are Republicans, and 67 percent of SAM’s forty-five endorsed Senate candidates are Republicans.
SAM requires candidates to submit completed candidate surveys to be considered for a grade and endorsement. MLCV collects candidate surveys but does not require them for an endorsement.
SAM received 135 surveys from House candidates. One hundred and thirteen of those received a grade of A and sixty-eight were endorsed. Senate candidates submitted fifty-two surveys to SAM and forty-nine received a grade of A while twenty-seven were endorsed.
Here’s an interesting fact. Forty six of MLCV’s endorsed House candidates and eight of MLCV’s endorsed Senate candidates did not submit a survey to SAM.
It’s clear that the candidates are self-selecting their group of choice.
The good news is this: sportsmen and environmentalists can’t lose with the nineteen House candidates and four Senate candidates endorsed by both SAM and the MLCV.
All of SAM’s endorsements and grades can be found at www.sportsmansalliance.com . That Web site includes the complete survey results from Maine’s five gubernatorial candidates.
MLCV’s endorsements are listed at www.mlcv.org . And for the first time, the League has put its gubernatorial surveys on its Web site. Those have not been made public in the past.
Unfortunately, Republican Paul LePage did not complete a survey for MLCV — but perhaps he was familiar with the group’s decided bias toward Democrats!