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Charlie Webster

Big Talk: Election Aftermath

Big Talk host Al Brewer and I discuss the results of Tuesday's election, with a focus on the Portland mayoral race and Question One on the statewide ballot.

For the poll numbers we discuss, see these posts over at Down East.

For the full results of the mayoral race, including the IRV rounds, see this detailed spreadsheet courtesy of Jack Woods.

Download the episode here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Charlie Webster Gets Earful for Lying About Voting

This is an incredible piece of audio, courtesy of Bruce Burgoine at Dirigo Blue. Listen as Maine GOP Chair Charlie Webster gets absolutely destroyed by WGAN hosts Ken Altshuler and Mike Violette as they challenge some of his baseless claims about student voting.


Politically-Motivated Voter Suppression

In my column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel this morning, I try to figure out why Republicans are so gung-ho to roll back voting rights. The arguments advanced so far are either embarassingly factually flawed or, like GOP Chair Charlie Webster's conspiracy theories, just outrght ludicrous. There is certainly no ideological or philosophical underpinning for the move.

The answer seems to be simple, naked politics.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke about the bill on MSNBC last night, and put the issue in a national context:

It seems to me it's art of a bigger agenda to keep people from voting, to take away our rights as citizens and to undermine the very fundamentals of democracy.

Video after the jump. Read more »

LePage's First 100: More Bridges Burned Than Built

My assessment of Maine Governor Paul LePage's first hundred days is up over at Newsweek / The Daily Beast. The abstract: he's caused himself a lot of damage over matters peripheral to his agenda and shows little indication that he's going to stop doing so anytime soon.

While I wrote the piece with Newsweek.com in mind, it was published wearing Daily Beast livery, as the operational merger of the two outlets is now complete, giving the latter control of all original digital content. The piece ran as written, but with a tabloid headline: "Maine's Madman Governor Paul LePage strike s again." I'd prefer they'd have substituted "volatile" for "madman," as the latter term calls for speculation.

For Maine politicos, a couple of tidbits that didn't make it into the piece: Read more »

Gov. LePage Begins Paying Political Price

Maine's controversial governor, Paul LePage, has been in office less than three months, but he's already galvanized progressives, lost the support of two-thirds of self-declared moderates, and reportedly alienated leading figures in his own party, including party chair Charlie Webster and, now, nearly half of the G.O.P. Senate delegation.

Readers need little review of Mr. LePage's ill-advised actions and remarks, as they've been sufficiently outrageous as to have him in the national media spotlight on an almost weekly basis. From telling the NAACP to kiss his butt on the eve of the M.L.K weekend to joking (ho-ho) that the reason he supported the return of the banned substance BPA to baby's bottles and sippy cups was that the worst thing that could happen is that some women would "grow little beards" to marking the anniversary of the infamous Triangle Fire by announcing he would dismantle a mural of Maine's labor history hanging in the Department of Labor to kicking off Sunshine Week by denouncing users of Maine's Freedom of Access Act as being engaged in "internal terrorism," Mr. LePage has appeared hell-bent on making as many enemies as possible as quickly as he can. Read more »

Maine GOP Chair Lays Down the Gauntlet

In his statement on Specter's switch, Maine Republican Party Chair Charlie Webster lays out a bold agenda for 2010:

I like a good challenge. The Maine Republican Party is ready for a good fight in 2010 and we are dedicated to capturing the Blaine House, the State Senate and making large gains in the Maine House.

Maine GOP Chair Weighs in On Steele, Limbaugh

Charlie Webster, the new chair of the Maine Republican party was quoted in an NPR piece yesterday on the Steele-Limbaugh brouhaha over who is the leader of the Republican Party. Webster praised Steele, but also defended the independence of Maine's Republican senators.

Charles Webster, chairman of the Republican Party in Maine, is a fan of both Steele and Limbaugh.

"Steele is an impressive guy," says Webster, who reported that there was a "mini revolution" among state party members when they learned that their three RNC members did not plan to vote for Steele for party chair.

"There was huge support for him up here," he said. "And, obviously, he is now the leader of the party."

"He's cleaned house, he's starting over, and he'll bring some dynamic people in," Webster said.

Webster and others, however, did take exception to Steele's suggestion during an interview on Fox News that he would be open to withholding re-election campaign funds from the three GOP senators who voted for Obama's stimulus package. Those senators are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who is expected to face a tough challenge in 2010.

Bottom line, Steele should be about broadening the party any way he can — even embracing moderate Republicans who frequently line up with the party.

"If we lived under a parliamentary political system, an ideologically pure party that could get 30 percent of the vote would be a player," Ayers says. "But in the United States you need to get 50 percent plus 1 — and ideological parties lose."

"Michael Steele knows that," he said.

I Knew It!

Mainetoday.com has a story up written by Betty Adams at the Kennebec Journal about how the bookkeeper for the Maine GOP has been indicted for embezzling almost $50,000 from the state party over a period of three years.

The article notes that a statement from Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster and former chairman Mark Ellis is available "on the Republican Party website" and provides a link. Clicking there, however, takes you to a post on As Maine Goes, the conservative online forum.

Here's a screencap with the link selected:

The actual Maine GOP website does not have a release posted on the subject.

Webster, Summers to Lead Maine GOP

Maine GOP State Committee member Steven Scharf reports on the As Maine Goes forum that Charlie Webster and Charlie Summers have been elected as Chair and Vice Chair of the Maine Republican Party.

Webster is a former state senate minority leader and Summers ran for Congress in Maine's first district in 2004 and 2008.