warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/dispatch/public_html/modules/taxonomy/taxonomy.pages.inc on line 33.

SD 1

McGowan In, Hill Out

Pat McGowan resigned from his job as Maine's Conservation Commissioner today to seek the Democratic nomination for governor. McGowan, shown here not crashing his plane, is a former state representative and ran for Congress in the second district in 1990 and 1992, offering a tough challenge to then-Representative Olympia Snowe.

With many of the other Gubernatorial candidates hailing from southern Maine, McGowan's support in the second District may be a significant advantage. He plans to make his first campaign announcement tomorrow at 7am in Fort Kent.

State Rep. Dawn Hill, who was considered to be in the bottom tier of Democratic gubernatorial candidates and who hadn't seemed to be doing much campaigning, dropped out of the race on Thursday, citing an increasingly competitive Democratic field.

Hill plans to seek the Distict 1 State Senate seat, which is apparently being vacated by two-term incumbent Democrat Peter Bowman. District 1 was supposed to be a very competitive race last year, with Bowman facing off against former Republican Senator Mary Black Andrews, but Bowman ended up winning by a wide margin.

Bowman Responds to AMF Ad

Senator Peter Bowman emails over a letter-to-the-editor he's submitted to the Weekly Sentinel in response to the AMF ad.

For the record, I am completely supportive of freedom of the press including advertizing! That said, I personally abhor attack ads, especially those paid for by lobbies that have their own interests at heart and not ours!

I want to advise your readers that the real nature of the very personal, inflammatory ad that appeared in last week’s Sentinel was just that: an attack ad, part of an effort largely paid for by the beverage industry lobbies (including some out-of-staters) to discredit those who voted for adding about a nickel-a-bottle cost to the consumption of discretionary beverages so that about 18,000 working Maine people would not lose health care insurance coverage. Also, not mentioned in the ad were the facts that in the last Legislature I sponsored a bill to reduce the size of state government and, in a separate bill, voted for reducing Maine’s personal income tax rate structure. These are much more important components of the very real tax/spending issues facing Maine today.

Contrary to what you may have read or heard, the issue had two full public hearings and was fully discussed by the Legislature’s Taxation Committee in the 123rd Legislature. The Legislature turned to non-health-enhancing funding sources (e.g., beer, wine, soda) unanimously endorsed by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Dirigo Health (remember, Anheuser Busch and Coke don’t want you to think of their products as potential health issues!). After thoughtful consideration, I reluctantly voted for the bill that included the beverage tax because I believed it to be a more transparent funding mechanism for Dirigo Health than the previous highly controversial “Savings Offset Payment” process (which estimated the savings in overall health care costs due to covering the previously uninsured).

Finally, when you consume that beverage that costs an extra nickel, I ask you to think of it as helping a needy child to be treated for asthma, or a woman to have a mammogram, or a man to have a prostate cancer PSA blood test. The picture looks quite different when viewed from that perspective!

Peter Bowman
Kittery, ME

AMF Softens Anti-Bowman Ad

Tony Payne emails over a new ad which will run in place of the one I posted previously and provides an explanation:

Mike - You raised an important point that the new taxes supported by Bowman and others were a tax shift - a trade for lowering the personal income tax. I forgot the context of that vote.

The attached ad will run in the Sentinel instead of the one I furnished. We're trying to be fair and accurate. What is clear to me is that the new taxes would raise more revenue than would be realized in income tax reductions - a net gain for spenders in the Legislature. It also would have established entire new categories of tax that as one-offs could be raised in future years because the businesses impacted by those taxes would never have the political clout to defeat such efforts. Just take a look at the beverage industry which has clout but was ambushed late at night and singled out. Thanks for the perspective.

AMF Runs Anti-Bowman Ad

As PolitickerME reports, the Alliance for Maine's Future's Maine Prosperity PAC has spent $8,000 as an independent expenditure attacking Senator Peter Bowman in Senate District 1. AMF Director Tony Payne sends along an ad which will be running this week in the Weekly Sentinel as a part of that expenditure. Click the image to enlarge.

The ad attempts to tie Bowman to a long list of tax hikes based on his votes for LD 1925, a bill that would have lowered income taxes by broadening the sales tax, and LD 2247, the bill that imposed a beverage tax to replace the insurance savings offset payments funding the Dirigo Health program. LD 2247 is the subject of the Question 1 referendum campaign.

In addition to the $363 spent on this ad, the PAC has spent over $7,500 on an anti-Bowman mail campaign.

Bowman is locked in a close race with former senator Mary Andrews. This expenditure should trigger more public funding for his campaign under the Maine Clean Elections Act.

Down East: Senate District 1

There's a new post up at DownEast.com continuing my look at interesting senate races.

District one could be the closest race in Maine, with two strong candidates with very different priorities and legislative histories contesting the seat.

Third party spending in the area has already begun, with the conservative interest group Alliance for Maine's Future announcing today that they've bought print advertising attacking Bowman and three other local Democrats for supporting the beverage tax.

Down East: Maine State Senate 2008

Today at Down East, I post some maps I've been working on and outline some state senate districts that I'll be addressing in greater detail soon.

Here's a map of the '06 state senate election:

The colors are determined by comparing the percentage of the total number of votes (including votes for third-party and independent candidates) of both the Democrat and Republican in the race.

For example, Democrat Ethan Strimling received 8824 votes in District 8, or around 67 percent of the total. Republican David Babin received 2433 votes, or a bit more than 18 percent, and Kelsey Perchinski of the Green Independent party won 1895 votes, a bit more than 14 percent.

Subtracting Babin's percentage from Strimling's gives an almost 49 point margin of victory. The district is then shaded the darkest blue, which connotes districts where the Democrat won by more than 20 points.