The State House is seen Thursday, May 17, 2012, in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty | AP

It’s been awhile since we said it, but good morning from Augusta. The Daily Brief has been gone longer than we expected at the Bangor Daily News when we sent the last one in June.

We wanted to write to tell you that we will be re-launching it in the new year (by the start of the 2020 legislative session Jan. 8), and to say what we’ve been up to over the past few months and what to expect from us in 2020. Here’s your soundtrack. — Michael Shepherd

We are going to have more people dedicated to politics than we have in years. The BDN has been spending the past few months beefing up the politics team. I was promoted from from reporter to political editor. We committed two more reporter positions to Maine politics, which adds up to more people than we’ve had fully dedicated to the beat since 2012.

Our first hire, Caitlin Andrews, joined us in August from the Concord Monitor in her home state of New Hampshire, where she also worked at Foster’s Daily Democrat in Dover. We’ll be joined in early January by Jessica Piper, a 2019 Bowdoin College graduate who has been interning at NPR and the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C., since then.

Caitlin is largely going to run point on our state government coverage, while Jessica is going to be focused on data and campaign finance in the run-up to the 2020 election. You’ll see lots of bylines from me on government, elections and everything in between.

We are going to ask readers to weigh in on our coverage strategy and re-up past partnerships for the 2020 election. It’s going to be a crazy 2020 election from the U.S. Senate race on down to local races, starting with the new presidential primaries in March through the presidential, congressional and legislative elections in November.

The BDN is going to experiment with a “citizens agenda” model for covering it. We haven’t figured out all the details yet, but it involves seeking the topics our readers are most interested in and building coverage around answering questions around them instead of building our strategy around our interests and what we think readers’ interests are. You’ll see more from us on that subject in the next few weeks.

We will again be working with our national partners, Decision Desk HQ, to collect and present results and call races during the three 2020 elections. We plan to work again with FairVote, an electoral reform group, to conduct exit polling in the June primaries and the November general election to predict the winners of ranked-choice races, just as we did in 2018.

This could be really important, given the nine-day lag between the 2018 election and a ranked-choice winner being declared in the 2nd Congressional District. Since Maine can split electors, there are scenarios where a close presidential election could hinge on the 2nd District.

We want to be more useful to Maine political observers. A long-term part of my mission as the BDN’s political editor is figuring out what we can do to distinguish ourselves and provide information that you aren’t getting anywhere else. Whether you’re a lawmaker, lobbyist, state employee or someone who monitors government for other reasons, we’d love to know what kind of information you seek and how we could help.

Email me at or call anytime at 207-370-7652 with advice on that, news tips, questions, comments, complaints or suggestions. Thanks for being patient in our absence from this space.

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to get the newsletter on state politics and policy via email on weekday mornings.

To reach us, do not reply directly to this newsletter, but the political team directly at or

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...