The most important issue in Maine’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign is:
Can Paul LePage pardon a dog?
Also, who is this Susan Collins person, and why has she never bothered to introduce herself to LePage?
But back to the pooch. Gov. LePage claims he can pardon dogs the courts have ordered euthanized after they’ve been found to be dangerous. Next year’s potential gubernatorial prospects are deeply divided on this issue. When asked, conservatives rolled their eyes, while liberals kept saying “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” apparently a reference to the Tina Fey movie (I watched it, but there was nothing about pardons. Or dogs. Puzzling.)
As for Collins – the state’s senior senator and, like LePage, a Republican – she’s finally admitted she’s considering a run for governor. This prompted LePage to wax philosophic:
“I don’t know if I will endorse her,” he said during a radio interview, “because I don’t know her well enough to know whether or not she can do the job as CEO. It’s very very different to be a legislator and to be a CEO. I will tell you I don’t think I would make a very good legislator, and many legislators that I know would not make a very good governor. So I don’t know her well enough to pass judgment.”
Allow me to enlighten the governor. While it’s true that Collins is currently a legislator, she’s also served as director of the U.S. Senate’s Oversight of Government Management Subcommittee, commissioner of Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, New England director of the Small Business Administration and deputy state treasurer of Massachusetts.
I realize that pales compared to LePage’s pre-gubernatorial background as the CEO of a surplus and salvage company and an ineffective stint as mayor of Waterville (motto: You Know, The Decaying Settlement North Of Augusta Where Colby College Is).
One other note on the governor’s remarks: That line “I don’t think I would make a very good legislator” has already been archived by devious political operatives for use in the event LePage follows through on his threat to run against independent U.S. Sen. Angus King next year.
But enough of this gubernatorial foolishness. Because there’s other gubernatorial foolishness that’s even better.
Terry Hayes is running for governor.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.
I’m sure there are a couple dozen people who know Hayes is the state treasurer, a post filled by the Legislature every two years in an effort to make an obscure politician even more so. Hayes used to be a Democratic state representative, who once served as assistant majority leader. But she clashed with labor unions, which resulted in her being soundly defeated in a bid to become speaker of the House. She then declared herself an independent, ran for treasurer and won with the support of Republicans.
As governor, Hayes told the Bangor Daily News she’d be “collaborative” because “we can’t afford to alienate people.” Except labor unions.
Hayes’ campaign hinges on the state supreme court finding ranked-choice voting constitutional. She plans to position herself as everybody’s second choice, and emerge as the winner in the 14th round. But if Collins gets in the race, the winner may be declared about 13 rounds earlier than that.
Then there’s Democratic candidate Adam Cote, a musician with the band Wretched. I really dug their 2014 album “Cannibal,” but his shirtless, death-metal yammering might turn off tradition-minded, 2nd District voters, who prefer Megadeth or Slayer.
Oh wait. That guy spells his last name Cody. The Cote who’s running for governor is a lawyer, a decorated Army veteran and a loser in the 2008 1st District congressional primary. Since then, he’s been invisible. Sort of like Wretched.
Cote is a moderate, who’s positioning himself as an outsider. “I have not spent much time in Augusta,” he told the Bangor Daily. After this election, that’s unlikely to change.
Finally, there’s GOP Congressman Bruce Poliquin, who’s been widely rumored to be interested in the governorship. But sources tell me Poliquin has changed his mind after he realized that if he were elected, he couldn’t continue to avoid reporters by sleeping in his congressional office and refusing to be interviewed. Instead, he plans to run for re-election.
The man knows how to Foxtrot around.