You need to get out there to find Maine’s most interesting 2022 primaries

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What we’re watching today

An election marked by known quantities should boast interesting primaries that will shape the local orientations of the party. Republicans and Democrats generally agreed ahead of the 2022 election. Govt. Janet Mills should face the former governor. Paul Le Page, which has only a longtime primary opposition after the Maine Republican Party moved to clear the ground. Former US Representative. Bruce Poliquin also has GOP opponents for now in its bid to take on Rep. Jared Golden from Maine’s 2nd District, but none look like a major threat.

This means that you have to go down to the legislative level to find the most interesting June primaries. There are fewer than usual, although candidates have until mid-March to officially qualify for the primary ballot. The period between now and then dooms many candidates who are not organized enough to qualify.

Perhaps the biggest primary is for a Maine Senate seat now dominated by Orono, with a restorer Abe Furth focused towards mike tip of the Progressive People’s Alliance of Maine. Chairman of the Maine Democratic Party Drew Gattine of Westbrook also breaks recent precedent by staying in his seat in a House primary against the Scarborough alderman Jean Marie Caterina.

Republicans also have a handful of primaries in safe seats. In Paris, Rep. John Andrew is facing the restaurateur Ryan Rici in a run made notable after Andrews returned from the Libertarians about a year after joining the third. Former representative Don Marean de Hollis, who left the party in 2019 while in office, re-signed up to face the rep. Marc Blier of Buxton.

There are also plenty of open-seat races between politically connected people. To Hallowell, a longtime House Democratic aide Dan Shagoury faces the councilman Patrick Wynne. Republicans battle for nomination between Piscataquis County Commissioner Jacques White and former candidate for the commission Charles Schaffer for a neighborhood of Guilford at Greenville House.

What we read

– Top legislative Democrats and a few Republicans also challenged the governor. Janet Mills to give retired state workers a steep cost-of-living increase in its next spending bill. Matching a previous boost to the pace of inflation would cost about $147 million, according to the state employee retirement system. Mills’ office said Friday that the Democratic governor will assess how to increase pensions in a fiscally responsible manner.

– US Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King of Maine warned that Russia was trying to provoke a conflict with Ukraine. Collins, a Republican, said ‘the signs all point to an invasion’ a day after senators received a confidential briefing from the president’s administration Joe Biden. Senators are currently negotiating sanctions against Russia. Collins said the parties are “on the 1 yard line” on the timing and order of penalties which are likely to occur on a bipartisan basis.

– The state’s growing backlog of positive tests masks a likely decline in COVID-19 transmission in recent weeks. Daily case counts and trends reported in Maine have been rendered effectively irrelevant because 58,000 tests as of last week were still awaiting processing by state health officials. But the number of reported positive tests has declined, and other metrics, including sewage and hospitalization data, also bode well.

News and notes

— With another budget cliff looming, Collins is one of two senators waiting to lead the appropriations committee next year. Politico reminds us today that Sens. Patrick LeahyD-Vermont, and Richard ShelbyR-Alabama, retire next year and are trying to negotiate their final spending deal with pressure from their caucuses and a Feb. 18 deadline. Maine Republican and Senator. Patty MurrayD-Washington, are in line to chair the committee in 2022 or serve as ranking members of their party depending on who controls the Senate.

– Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin will replace Monday at Windham High School after replacing at Readfield Elementary School last month. Makin, a former principal and deputy superintendent of Brunswick, draws attention to teacher and staff shortages and calls for more volunteers in schools to help make up for them.

follow us today

9 am The local government committee of the Legislative Assembly will work on a bill that would allow small towns to use ranked ballots in their elections. Listen now.

10am The environmental panel will work on three bills regarding “forever chemicals” that are increasingly found in Maine’s land and water. Listen now.

— The Veterans Affairs and Legal Affairs Committee will hold hearings on three bills dealing with medical marijuana rules. Listen now.

1 p.m. The same committee will work on ballot bills, including one that would make interfering with election officials a crime. Listen now.

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