Good morning from Augusta. We’re catching our breath after a busy last two days. Hope you’re rested up after Super Tuesday.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I didn’t want the typical VFW Hall and egg salad rolls. We didn’t want the white wedding dress and all that,” said Oscar Brann, who married his fiance Jessica on Moosehead Lake this weekend during a fishing trip. “There’s a lot of pluses. I mean, the anniversary is every four years, and if we do decide to celebrate it, we can go back to Moosehead.” Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
Turnout for the presidential primary on Tuesday was four times greater than the 2016 caucuses. The state had estimated that between 15 percent and 20 percent of registered voters would make it to the polls. Instead, about 45 percent of registered voters turned out for the vaccine referendum, while about 200,000 voters participated in the Democratic presidential primary, compared with 48,000 who partook in the 2016 caucuses.
With such high turnout, results were somewhat consistent across the state. The vaccine referendum, which was split along party lines in the Legislature last year, lost in every county. In the Democratic primary, former Vice President Joe Biden, who narrowly beat Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, performed well across the state, though Sanders edged him out in a few liberal strongholds.
The turnout reflects what proponents of a presidential primary had hoped for when the Legislature switched from party-run caucuses to a state run primary last year. In 2016, just 15 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of Republicans turned out for their parties’ respective caucuses, which were characterized by long lines at Democratic-run caucuses and long drive times to Republican events.
Parties are still having caucuses this year — it is a legal requirement, and they have to pick party leaders and delegates for this summer’s national conventions. Maine Republicans have been holding regional caucuses for week’s, while Democrats will hold their own on Sunday.
The Maine politics top 3
— “Maine voters likely to decide in November on referendum aiming to kill CMP corridor,” Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “The announcement was a formality after months of campaigning on both sides. Referendum supporters were confident last month that they would have the signatures to take the issue to a statewide vote. Opponents and supporters have traded ethics complaints, with Hydro-Quebec, the providence-owned power company partnering with CMP, paying a $35,000 ethics fine and two complaints pending against anti-corridor groups.”
— “This bill would bar Maine from detaining some children,” Andrews: “Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, is concerned repealing that provision would leave the state with no place to put those children and that the bill could conflict with current actions it’s taking to address the issue. Proponents say the state hasn’t put enough resources toward the issue to address it quickly.”
— “A Bangor program that lets high school students get college credit has spread across Maine,” Charles Eichacker, BDN: “Roughly 150 students from communities such as Bangor, Ellsworth, Stonington, Houlton, Lewiston and Wilton now receive college credits each year through the program, which has a goal of reaching 200 students next year.”
Waldo County seat up for grabs next session
— A third state senator from a swing district just announced their retirement this week. Sen. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, was named city manager of her town Wednesday night, CBS affiliate WABI reports, and will not be running for her seat next year. Her district leans Democratic by two points, so the race this November is sure to be a close one.
Democrats control the Senate, and can only afford to lose three seats if they want to keep it. Sen. Linda Sanborn, D-Gorham — also from a district that leans Democratic by two points — has announced she won’t be running again this year. So has Sen. Robert Foley, R-Wells, whose district is also a close one. Both parties are sure to scramble for the seats to try and maintain — or gain — an edge.
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email firstname.lastname@example.org (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.