Political news

MPBN file

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has shifted his campaign to the general election for what promises to be a brutal contest against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. But Trump still has to stamp out the remaining vestiges of the Republican opposition to his candidacy heading into the Republican National Convention.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The attorney for House Speaker Mark Eves is seeking an injunction against Gov. Paul LePaage, in Eves' appeal filed Wednesday with the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The brief is an attempt to force the U.S. District Court to reconsider Eves' argument that the governor acted illegally when he threatened to withhold over $1 million in state funding to a private nonprofit unless the organization fired Eves as its president.

PORTLAND, Maine — MSNBC host Rachel Maddow says more than 1,800 letters poured into Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s office in the month after he said he’d resign if Mainers asked him to.

Maddow shared the results of her Freedom of Access Act request for the emails, which took her nine months to receive, on her Wednesday night program.

LePage told WGAN-AM a year ago that if Mainers don’t want him then "just ask me to leave" at a time when he faced calls for impeachment and a lawsuit by Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

It’s Thursday and time for Across the Aisle, our weekly roundtable on Maine politics.

This week, Cynthia Dill, an attorney with the Portland firm of Troubh Heisler and former Democratic state senator; Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing, a former Republican lawmaker; and Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in the Maine Senate as an independent.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A two-day recount has confirmed that Republican Mark Holbrook narrowly beat Ande Smith in the 1st Congressional District primary to face Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree this fall.

Smith, a North Yarmouth attorney, congratulated Holbrook as he conceded Wednesday, and said he will not dispute the results further. The Maine secretary of state conducted the recount in Augusta and said Holbrook won with 10,360 votes — 57 more than Smith.

A.J. Higgins / MPBN

Donald Trump roared into Bangor Wednesday afternoon into the collective embrace of about 5,000 loyal supporters at the Cross Center. The audience applauded the presumptive Republican nominee’s promises of great trade deals, expanded job opportunities and a no-exceptions immigration policy that he says will make America safe.

All of the campaign hoopla played well in the heart of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where large numbers of conservative voters could hand Trump one Electoral College vote if he carries the region in November.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr/Creative Commons

Donald Trump was in Bangor Wednesday for his second rally in Maine.

In a speech that stuck pretty closely to what we heard in his trade speech in Pennsylvania Tuesday, Trump took aim at the Trans-Pacific Partnership and said if he’s elected, he’ll withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Speaking to about 4,000 people, Trump blamed Hillary Clinton for the rise of the Islamic State and a decline in American influence and prosperity.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Ethics Commission will not penalize a publicly-funded Democratic candidate for using a vague campaign finance rule that allowed his volunteers to pay for $1,800 worth of mailings.
Commissioners instead plan to clarify the so-called house party exemption, a rule meant to allow volunteers to pick up part of the costs of campaign events - up to $250 per election.
Rep. Ben Chipman, who won a Democratic state senate primary in Portland, had 10 volunteers pay a Portland mail house for a $1,828 mailing highlighting two house party events.

LEWISTON, Maine - The court master who oversees the rights of patients at Riverview Psychiatric Center says he's concerned about a hiring freeze.

Gov. Paul LePage signed an executive order Monday for a hiring freeze in order to fund four legislative bills, including a bill that would give raises at Riverview.

Fred Bever / MPBN

Wednesday, June 29: To watch Donald Trump live in Bangor, click here.  

Gov. Paul LePage told Bangor radio station WVOM that he plans to attend the campaign rally of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Gov. Paul LePage says he’s going his own way to fund several legislative priorities in a dispute with lawmakers over how they should be paid for.

In an executive order, LePage says he will tap the Fund for a Healthy Maine and the Drugs for the Elderly program and freeze hiring at the state’s mental health facilities.

PORTLAND, Maine - A poll indicates more Mainers believe immigrants strengthen the state than believe they're a burden, but there's a stark difference between Republicans and Democrats.
The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram poll indicates that 48 percent of respondents believe immigrants strengthen the state compared to 32 percent who considered them a burden.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr/Creative Commons

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump will campaign in Maine Wednesday. 

A proposal to tax, regulate and allow adult recreation use of marijuana landed the top spot on a November ballot crowded with a record five citizen initiatives.

The outcome follows a quirky tradition in Maine’s 106-year-old referendum law: a random drawing to determine the order of the questions. Advocates of the ballot measures were watching closely.

AUGUSTA, Maine - In the wake of the recent Orlando shootings, gun legislation continues to dominate the headlines in Washington D.C., and in Maine, where Gov. Paul LePage is campaigning hard to defeat a fall ballot question that would require criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a firearm through a private sale.

During a well-attended and supportive town meeting event in Richmond Wednesday evening, LePage said the focus of the gun debate is misdirected. But the governor's critics say he has waffled on gun control and needs to check his facts.