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Dennis Damon

Down East: A Red Tide

In my latest Down East column, I talk about Wednesday's legislative hearing on Sen. Damon's same-sex marriage bill.

The committee will vote on the bill on Tuesday and it's likely that the full Senate will vote on it about a week after that. The Senate vote will be the real contest, and looks to be very close. The measure has much wider support in the House. (The KJ has a good overview of the legislative process.)

If it passes both houses, the bill will head to Governor Baldacci, who has so far been content to let things play out without comment, although he was apparently listening to the audio feed from the hearing.

As I mentioned in the post, I found the history lesson given by Neil Rolde to be one of the most compelling pieces of testimony on Wednesday. Just in case you find Maine political history as interesting as I do, I've uploaded his full statement here in pdf.

Equal Marriage on the Air

For a good overview of each side's arguments in the same-sex marriage debate, check out this podcast of Nicole Witherbee from the Maine Center for Economic Policy discussing the legislation with Sen. Dennis Damon and Betsy Smith of Equality Maine:

...and this interview with Mark Mutty of the Portland Catholic Dioceses on WGAN:

Damon also discusses what led him to submit the bill, the correspondence he's received from his constituents, and the next steps in passing the legislation.

Last-Minute Revelations

We may not have seen an October surprise in the presidential race, but local races in Maine have seen plenty of late-breaking events and political attacks in the last few days before the election.

Republican House candidate Ken Lindell was accused of "fraud" and "deceit" in a mailer from the Democratic Party based on what Lindell describes as a "misunderstanding" with a client that occurred six years ago and resulted in the suspension of his securities license.

A shadowy PAC has sent a flier to Portland residents attacking mayor Ed Suslovic on a variety of issues. The Bollard has labeled the race "the ugliest Portland political campaign in recent memory".

The Bangor Daily News and the Mount Desert Islander have both recently reported on $20,000 worth of back taxes owed by the family of Democratic District 28 Senator Dennis Damon.

Fed Up With Taxes, the PAC supporting the beverage tax veto, is facing more than $10,000 in fines for failing to report expenditures.

District 44 Representative Robert Walker has sent a Halloween-themed mailer accusing his opponent, Democrat Andrew O'Brien, of using "dirty tricks". Walker admits the charge is untrue, but says he sent the piece in anticipation of potential Democratic attacks.

Not to be outdone, the Maine Family Policy Council (the right-wing group formerly known as the Christian Civic League) has published an article on their website comparing Barack Obama to Castro, Hitler and Pol Pot.