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

Tony Ronzio

Chat With The Candidates

The Maine Today papers are holding live web chats with each of the primary candidates for governor over the next two weeks.

The first is today at 2pm with Pat McGowan.

Here's the whole schedule, with most chats on or around noon (via KJ/MS Managing Editor Tony Ronzio):

May 11 - McGowan
May 12 - Libby Mitchell
May 13 - Steven Rowe (not yet confirmed)
May 14 - Rosa Scarcelli
May 17 - Steven Abbott
May 18 - William Beardsley
May 19 - Matt Jacobson
May 20 - Paul LePage
May 21 - Peter Mills
May 24 - Les Otten
May 25 - Bruce Poliquin

No link yet, but I imagine you'll be able to get there from here.

The Maine Today papers have been engaged in some other innovative coverage lately, including videotaping some candidate editorial board meetings. Here's Les Otten's.

Maine Leads, PAC

Sun Journal Opinion Editor Tony Ronzio says Maine Leads has acted as a PAC in pursuing ballot initiatives and should have to disclose its donors and expenditures to the state ethics commission.

This issue first arose in May, when the commission voted to investigate the organization after a complaint was filed by by Deborah Hutton, a former Democratic legislator. The commission will meet on Tuesday to debate the matter and hear testimony from Maine Leads Executive Director (and Floridian) Roy Lenardson. The agenda and documents for that meeting can be viewed here.

Gerald Weinand has more on the issue at Dirigo Blue.

Collins and Qadhafi

Senator Susan Collins is again blogging about her foreign travels, although this time she's a bit farther away than Canada. Collins and a group of other senators from the Armed Services Committee are currently visiting several countries in the middle east.

Collins' first two entries are about meeting Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi. Collins describes Libya's human rights record as "appalling" and says that in her meeting with the Qadhafi, she says she focused mainly on pressuring the strongman to procede with an agreement he made with the US, Russia and the IAEA to give up his country's supply of highly enriched uranium.

Today, Collins is visiting Iraq.

Collins also popped up in another part of the social mediascape earlier this week, when she participated in a "viditorial" with Sun Journal opinions editor Tony Ronzio. In the clip she says she supports necessary health insurance regulations, including guaranteed issue, but that these must be balanced against insurance company profitability and competitiveness.

Sun Journalism

The Lewiston Sun Journal today became the first Maine newspaper to call out Les Otten, in no uncertain terms, for his "recycling" of Obama's campaign materials.

Collins' Staff Tweets Back

Senator Collins' Special Assistant, Bobby Reynolds, goes head to (shiny) head with Lewiston Sun Journal Opinions Editor Tony Ronzio over the "Cash for Clunkers" bill:

The Future of the Editorial Page?

I'm not sure if this is a one-off experiment or a sign of social media integration to come, but Tony Ronzio, opinions editor for the Lewiston Sun Journal, has posted a YouTube version of tomorrow's editorial (and tweeted about doing so).

Sun Journal Live Chat

This sounds interesting:

Please join Sun Journal Editorial Page Editor Anthony Ronzio and political blogger Mike Tipping for a live, online chat at noon Monday, March 30, on sunjournal.com.

Tipping blogs about Maine politics at Mainepolitics.net and on Downeast.com's "The Tipping Point." They'll talk about the 2010 gubernatorial race, the State of the State, Gov. John Baldacci's new haircut and anything else readers want to chat about.

Everything, as always, is on the table. And no registration is required.

Lewiston Tartan Mystery Solved

The Lewiston Sun Journal has finally gotten to the bottom of the mysterious campaign signs that popped up in Lewiston over the past few weeks.

The signs, which were just rectangles of slightly differing tartan patterns with no identifying information, were apparently the work of Corey Troup, a Republican candidate who was proud of his Scottish ancestry. Troup lost to Margaret Craven by a 50-point margin.

Sun Journal editor Anthony Ronzio provided some analysis of the effort:

[...]campaign signs are to, you know, campaign. Or, at least, get your name out there. Troup's mysterious tartans - though maybe a clever inside joke - were a failure on both fronts.

Then again, so were most Republican strategies in this election. Scott Lansley, head of the Androscoggin County Republican Committee, described the results as "getting our asses kicked."

The whimsical stupidity of this effort aside, it presents an interesting case of the reach of Maine political advertising laws. Most campaign communications must carry a statement identifying the group or individual responsible for their creation and distribution. I guess Troup was able to get away with not identifying his handiwork because the mysterious signs did not "clearly identify" a candidate.