Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a
high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State
State Legislative Candidates for November Ballot Set
The deadline for local party committees to replace withdrawn
legislative candidates on November's ballot has now passed,
determining which names will appear on the ballot. All 151
House seats and 35 Senate seats in the Maine Legislature are up for
reelection. Both parties have named candidates for almost all
of these 186 contests, with Republicans running candidates in all
but four races and Democrats running candidates in all but ten
races. These 14 "uncontested" races are not
necessarily uncontested, as major party candidates may still face
unenrolled and Green Party candidates on the ballot. With the
passing of this deadline, both Parties took the opportunity to
publically discuss their optimistic prospects for November and to
extol the quality of their candidates this election year.
Wording of Same-Sex Marriage Question Set
This week, Secretary of State (and U.S. Senate Candidate)
Charlie Summers announced the final wording of the ballot question
that would authorize same-sex marriage in Maine. The
Secretary of State's Office originally proposed asking "Do
you want to allow same-sex couples to marry?" Both
proponents and opponents of the ballot initiative opposed this
wording and over 600 public comments were received by the Secretary
of State's Office in reaction to the original question.
The question has now been revised to ask "Do you want to allow
the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex
couples?" While not completely satisfied, both
proponents and opponents of the ballot initiative seem to prefer
the new wording of this question, which will appear on the general
election ballot in November.
Federal Election Roundup
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has recently endorsed Republican
candidate for U.S. Senate and current Secretary of State, Charlie
Summers. This week, that endorsement turned into tangible
support as the U.S. Chamber began airing an advertisement attacking
another candidate for this seat, former Governor Angus King
(unenrolled). This ad has appeared on a number of Maine
stations in what is reported as a $200,000 ad buy. Whether
Mainers can expect additional out-of-state spending in Maine
political contests this year is uncertain at this point.
While the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate was the
beneficiary of support from the U.S. Chamber, the Democrat
candidate for this seat has raised concerns that her own party is
not sufficiently supporting her campaign. Last week, state
Senator Dill sent a letter to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign
Committee in D.C. requesting additional involvement by her party in
In Maine's second congressional district seat, Senate
President Raye (R) outraised Congressman Michaud (D) $165,000 to
$109,000 in political contributions for the reporting period
between May 24th and June 30th. With
$635,000 in his war chest, Congressman Michaud still had more cash
on hand than Senate President Raye, who has $242,000.
Nonetheless, Raye used his recent fundraising advantage as an
opportunity to equate his fundraising success with success in
Year-End State Surplus Likely Smaller than Anticipated
State revenues in June came in below estimated levels, meaning
that the State closed out the fiscal year, which ended on June 30,
2012, with a smaller than anticipated surplus. Official
figures on the previous fiscal year will not be compiled until
sometime in August, but the year-end surplus is estimated to stand
at around $20 million. While this is technically a surplus, a
statutory "cascade" already directs how this money will
be spent, with money first going to the Governor's Contingency
Account, then to the Finance Authority of Maine, then to a
cost-of-living-adjustment for state retirees, and finally to
hospitals for payments owed by the State. This entire
"cascade" would account for over $40 million in spending,
far above the anticipated surplus. This means that the
hospitals will not receive the full $25 million that is included in
the cascade for them.
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The Republican Leadership in the House has made two changes to House Committee Rules that will enhance the majority’s ability to conduct investigations without the assistance or cooperation of the minority.