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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.

Portland Mayor: Following the Money

My home city of Portland, Maine is having its first mayoral election in 88 years, the result of a successful ballot referendum and popular disgust with the city council's handling of a proposed development on the Maine State Pier. Fifteen candidates are on the ranked-choice ballot, making it especially difficult for voters to become educated about the would-be mayors.

As regular readers know, I'm a big proponent of following the money in politics, but under current law, mayoral candidates didn't have to file campaign finance disclosures until last Friday evening -- just eleven days before voters go to the polls. (An effort to change this law for future elections has been stalled in Augusta.) Media coverage of the content of those reports has, to date, been focused merely on how much money each candidate raised, rather than from whom these resources came.
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Portland Mayor's Race Social Media Standings

Photographer/blogger Corey Templeton of the Portland Daily Photo blog has put together an infographic showing the current Twitter followers and Facebook likes for the fifteen Portland mayoral candidates.

Michael Brennan, David Marshall, and Ethan Strimling all have strong showings, likely due to their high name recognition after having held other political offices.

One surprise is the online strength of Jed Rathband, who has less political experience but is obviously running an engaging social media campaign.

Another is the online weakness of current mayor Nick Mavadones, whom this graph shows to have only 29 Twitter followers and no official Facebook presence.

More at Down East.

Big Talk: Portland Mayoral Race

This week on Big Talk, hosts Suzanne Murphy and Al Brewer delve into the details and questions concerning Portland's upcoming and heavily contested mayoral race.

Who is running? How will having an elected mayor change the city of Portland? What duties will the new mayor have? What is ranked choice voting?

Download this episode here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Portland Mayoral Rundown

16(!) people are now signed up to run for mayor of the city of Portland, a new city-wide elected office created by the Charter Commission and approved by referendum. The vote will be conducted using "instant-runoff" or preferential balloting. As a student of political science, I find it all fascinating.

Over at Down East this week, I take a quick look at each of the 16 candidates.

At first blush, it seems that Democrats Michael Brennan, Nick Mavadones and Jill Duson have an early advantage in a city that leans towards their party. Each has run in city-wide (or larger) elections and all three have strong political histories at the city or state level.

I wouldn't count out Dave Marshall, though. As the only Green on the ballot, he'll have a united block of support and he's a dedicated grassroots campaigner. His colorful posters and stickers are already appearing all over the city.

With this many candidates, however, anything can happen.


Collateral Damage or Portland Mayoral Candidate?

If only there was a feminine version of the word “avuncular.” That’s what I was thinking as my two-year old daughter and I sat down over a cup of coffee with At-Large City Councilor Dory Waxman. Dory is like that passionate great aunt every family seems to have: the one who’s energetic, artistic, and passionately political. She doted over my daughter, reminisced about raising her own kids, and talked about her new apron-making business.

We met up at my suggestion because her story is one that hasn’t gotten much attention. “People don’t really know or understand that I won’t be on the council,” she said when we sat down. Waxman is the elected mayor martyr—except martyr isn’t quite the right word. Is there a word for someone who makes an unwilling sacrifice? I would use the word “victim,” except that definitely doesn’t describe Dory. The Pentagon would probably just label her as political collateral damage.

That’s because Waxman’s city council seat is being eliminated to make room for our new elected mayor. There is a certain degree of irony to this political story.  Three years ago, Waxman faced off against Ed Suslovic for the at-large council seat. The race was hard fought. With the debate regarding the Maine State Pier fresh in voters’ minds, passions ran hot. Ultimately, Waxman defeated Suslovic, the then-sitting un-elected mayor. Now she is being defeated by the new elected mayor—whoever that may be. Read more »

Portland Mayor: Let's Talk About Money

Charles Carpenter is an interesting guy. His company, Historic Map Works, is kind of the historic Google Earth. He started a foundation that builds playgrounds for kids in Afghanistan, Haiti, and Somalia. He lives in a spacious loft whose finer amenities include views of Casco Bay, a tubular elevator to a music room, rare 15th century copies of Aristotle, and a nearly two-story pulpit from a gothic church. But I didn't show up at his loft because I was writing for Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors—I met him because I heard he was running for mayor.

It turns out that he's not an official candidate yet.

"I'm still thinking about it," Carpenter said. "I'm opinionated. If I ran, I recognize I couldn't win because I'm not politically correct."

What do you mean? What's politically incorrect about you?

"Portland can have more economic growth if it's a desirable place for more middle class people to live an work," he said. "That's difficult because of the congregation of social services right in our downtown. Much of Congress Street is slated as non-market rate housing. We can't have an economically viable city if the buildings are non-market rate." He went on to express frustration at seeing so many people being let out on to the streets by social service agencies downtown. "It doesn't work to take hundreds of dysfunctional people and turn them out on the streets every day." Read more »