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Looks like PolitickerME, the blog focusing on Maine politics run by the New York Observer, has been shuttered for economic reasons.

This is a big loss for political journalism in this state. Jessica Alaimo was often the only one reporting on important local issues and events. The site helped to fill a big gap left by shrinking news departments at Maine's traditional media outlets.

Update: Alaimo has posted two different announcements of the shutdown on the site, both of which have been deleted. I'm not sure what's going on over there.

Coke and Pepsi Together at Last

Despite their decades-long professional rivalry, Pepsi and Coca-Cola can agree on one thing, their support for Question 1, which would repeal the beverage tax meant to fund Dirigo Health.

PolitickerME is tracking the PAC finance reports filed today, the deadline, and notes massive contributions from both companies to Fed Up With Taxes. The PAC has raised more than $2 million so far for its veto effort.

Coca-Cola Companies: $345,600
Pepsi Bottling Company: $869,743

Planned Parenthood Supports Allen in Unanimous Decision

Dan at Collins Watch had a scoop this morning with the news that Planned Parenthood, which supported Collins in her 2002 race against Chellie Pingree, has shifted their support this year to Congressman Tom Allen. He also notes that the decision was the result of a unanimous vote by the northern New England branch of the organization.

Jessica at PolitickerME followed up on the announcement and finds that the group made their decision after consideration of Collins' votes for Supreme Court justices who oppose Roe v. Wade.

Collins' pro-life credentials are often touted as a sign of her independence and this dis-endorsement could erode that image, but only if people know about it. What's unknown right now is if this announcement will be picked up by the wider media, if it will be made an issue by the Allen campaign, or if Planned Parenthood itself will be supporting Allen with advertising or logistical help.

The Permanent Campaign

The pseudonymous Wally Edge at PolitickerME takes a look at possible Democratic gubernatorial candidates for 2010.

Top of his list: Attorney General Steve Rowe, who registered the websites rowe2010.com and roweforgovernor.com way back in 2006.

Not on his list: any of the unsuccessful candidates from the 1st CD primary.

Warning: Spoilers

Jessica Alaimo at PolitickerME is presenting a great four-part series today on the history and future of the Maine Green-Independent party.

One quibble: in the piece on past elections involving the Greens, neither Alaimo nor her subjects can seem to come up with a race where the Greens are assumed to have played a role as spoilers. This ignores a very important piece of Maine history, the 1992 2nd district congressional race won by Olympia Snowe. Pat McGowan (D) got 42% of the vote, Snowe clocked in at 49% and Green-Independent Jonathan Carter recieved 9%. McGowan had nearly tied Snowe two years before and was expected to do even better in '92 until the Greens got involved. Here's how Maine political historian Christian Potholm describes the race:

[McGowan] might well have defeated [Snowe] if it had not been for the Green Party, which siphoned off a number of votes which would most likely have gone to him.

No matter what your political persuasion, you have to admit that Maine politics would be very different today if Olympia Snowe had been defeated for office 16 years ago.

PolitickerME Picking Up The Slack

The website PolitickerME has been a recent bright spot on a local political journalism landscape marred by cutbacks and superficial coverage.

Today, reporter-blogger Jessica Alaimo has upped the ante even further, uploading a series of articles and videos on the politics of Aroostook County as well as a "power list" of influential, unelected figures in Maine.

The feature on The County is a great read. I've worked on health care and social security campaigns across northern Maine and I've always found Aroostook politics to be fascinating. The St. John Valley has the highest Democratic registration in the state, and one of the highest in the country (95% in some places), while Houlton holds the distinction of being the most Republican town in Maine.

The power list is interesting as well, and I'd love to see the rubric they used to determine the order. They should probably fix the spelling on Betsy Sweet's first name, though. One wouldn't want to offend the 20th most powerful unelected person in Maine.