Showing posts with label Maine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maine. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Initiatives: Maine Citizens to Approve Marriage Equality?

 In less than a month,  Maine may become the first US state to adopt Marriage Equality by popular vote.

In 2009, the Maine state legislature approved same-sex marriage, but it was overturned on a citizen’s referendum by a 53-to-47 margin. But since that time, supporters have built a campaign organization that is likely to bear fruit this November. 

 “We’ve had 2 ½ years to go door-to-door and target the undecided,” said Matt McTighe, the manager of the Mainers United for Marriage campaign. In that time, over 200,000 one-on-one conversations (in a state of 1.3 millions) have taken place as a result of direct contact by volunteers. In addition, television commercials supporting same-sex marriage have been airing in Maine since the Olympics.
Today, polls show 57 percent of Mainers in support, and only 36 percent opposed. 

Turn out in Maine is expected to be heavy, not only because of the Presidential election, but because of a hotly contested three-way Senate race pitting former Governor and Independent candidate Angus King against Democrat Cynthia Dill and Republican Charlie Summers. Maine, more than any other state in the union, has a strong history of supporting Independent candidates over both major parties.  King, who leads in the polls, solidly supports the ballot initiative, as does the second-place-polling Democrat.  Only the Republican – whose support level has fallen to 16% - opposes the initiative. 

As a rule, we do not support ballot initiatives, because civil rights can not – and should not -  be subject to popular vote (or mob rule, depending on your perspective).  But it will be nice to be able to shut the mouths of those who constantly harp on the notion that ‘the people’ oppose equality.

[This is a first in a series of blog posts dedicated to the under-reported citizens' initiatives taking place around the nation] 


Sunday, May 06, 2012

Mitt's Nightmare: Ron Paul supporters take over State Conventions

Ignored by the mainstream media and cheated out of wins in the Republican primaries and caucuses, Ron Paul supporters are getting their revenge.

We reported in February that Romney supporters in Iowa announced Romney’s supposed win prematurely, and later had to admit that Santorum had won.

Then, a week later, we broke the story as to how Maine Republican leaders announced that Romney had won that state’s caucuses without waiting for Paul’s strongholds in Waldo and Washington County were counted.

Now, in both states, Paul supporters have taken control of the state parties. Even more embarrassing for Mitt, they have taken over his home state Massachusetts delegation as well.

At the Massachusetts’ state convention less than half of Romney’s 27 chosen delegates were formally elected to attend the national convention. Paul supporters won all of those slots instead. That means that while the state’s delegates are technically committed to vote for Romney, they also choose the state party chairman, vote their conscience on the official platform and procedural votes, and can support whoever they want for VP nominee.

In Maine yesterday, Brent Tweed, a York County state committee member and Paul supporter, defeated party-favorite (and one-time Gubernatorial candidate) Charles Cragin for the post of state party chairman by a vote of 1,118 – 1,114. Paul supporters also successfully elected Ron Morrell as the state party secretary.

Paul backers in Alaska were elected as party chairman and co-chairman. Paul supporters are now a majority in the Iowa GOP’s State Central Committee, and he’s set to claim a majority of the state’s delegates despite finishing third in the caucuses. They took over the Louisiana caucuses, carrying four out of six congressional districts with a tie in a fifth. That means 74 percent of the state’s convention delegates will be Paul backers. In Minnesota, Paul won 20 of 24 delegates allocated at congressional district conventions, and he’s expected to take more at the statewide convention. Paul supporters teamed up with backers of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum in Colorado to get 13 delegates.

The candidate has also picked up small delegate gains in states where Romney won big — for example, five delegates in Pennsylvania and four in Rhode Island. And in the upcoming convention, it’s a good bet that Paul will capture that delegation as well.

Mitt may have done well getting the entrenched establishment pronounce their support,  securing donations from Wall Street buddies, and purchasing votes and media adulation....but he is having significant trouble with his ground game, and may find that the national convention in Tampa may be more of a headache than he expected.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maine Republicans: Where's Waldo?!

[Important update at end of post]

Last week, the Maine Republican Party reported that Mitt Romney had defeated Ron Paul in the state’s caucuses by a scant 194 votes. The mainstream media dutifully reported this ‘fact,’ and went on to other issues. Political Bloggers, however, would not let the issue rest, as the announcement was made before 17% of the precincts in Maine had voted. The state party openly admitted that the votes from Washington County had not been included in the final count, as the precincts in that county had not yet cast votes: they were postponed until this weekend due to the forecast of a major snowstorm. The decision to exclude Washington County raised eyebrows, as that county is home to the University of Maine at Machias, and is expected to return a strong vote for Ron Paul.

But now it appears that other precincts throughout the state – including those that actually voted on the February 11 Caucus date – were also not included. In particular, Waldo County – the mid-coast county where this blogger’s family owned a camp for four generations – was almost entirely left out from the total vote counts.

The city of Belfast, a working-class city of 6,600 people at the head of the Penobscot Bay, and next-door Searsport, a similar port of 2,600, turned in “0 votes” according to the final tabulation just released by the state Republican Party, even though both places held caucuses on the 11th. In all, 20 of the 26 Towns in Waldo County were omitted from the announced vote totals. Suspicion of a stolen election is growing, as some of the Waldo County towns with known returns delivered significant margins to Ron Paul: Paul defeated Romney by 16-3 in Montville, and 9-1 in Palermo.

And the “clerical oversight” wasn’t limited to Waldo County: in neighboring Kennebec County, the city of Waterville – a city of 15,000 residents with a poverty rate twice that of the state and not likely fertile ground for Mitt Romney – were not included in the state party’s official returns.

The Bangor Daily News, one of Maine's two statewide newspapers, reported yesterday that “Pressure is mounting on the Maine Republican Party to reconsider its weekend declaration that Mitt Romney won the state’s caucuses…”


In the meantime, in spite of all of their fancy screens and bells and whistles and election analysts - - -where have the major networks been on this story?

UPDATE:The Mainstream media continue to ignore it, but the Blogosphere has apparently forced Maine GOP Chairman Charlie's Webster's hand: GOP HQs emailed all party leaders today (Thursday, Feb 16) with this message: “County Chairman & Town Chairman [sic], We are reconfirming the totals from the Presidential Preference Straw poll. Can you please EMAIL ME the totals from your towns. For County Chairman [sic] if you are emailing the total for your entire county can you please list the towns that are included.” Read more at Politico

In addition, the Waldo County Republican Committee took a vote of no confidence and called for the censure of party chairman Charlie Webster.


Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mitt Romney steals Iowa in January, Maine in February

On the night of January 3, Iowa state Republican officials – partisans of the ‘establishment’ Republican Party - announced that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucuses by a mere 8 votes. But a win is a win, and the establishment officials who organized the capital area (Des Moines and West Des Moines) for Romney were relieved, especially since Romney was losing counties he won all over the state the last time he ran.

But then, a few weeks later, a new vote total was announced: On Jan. 20, some uncounted votes were “discovered,” and Rick Santorum was declared the winner by 34 votes. Panicked that the establishment favorite would be seen as a loser, Iowa GOP Chair Matt Strawn said no winner could be certified because the votes of eight additional precincts were “missing.” (Strawn resigned as party head Jan. 31).

Romney would go on to win New Hampshire and Florida, but face embarrassing defeats in South Carolina, Colorado,, Minnesota, and Missouri. The last thing Romney needed was yet another defeat in Maine.

And so, Maine State Republican Chairman Charlie Webster announced an hour ago that Mitt Romney won the Maine caucuses with 2,190 votes, and that Ron Paul came in second with 1,996 (39% - 36%). The difference between the two candidates – a mere 194 votes – offers a much-needed, but still razor-thin win by Romney.

But wait....are the caucuses over?

The media have simply parroted Webster’s announcement that Romney has won by 194 votes. But the reality is that 17% of the precincts in Maine have not yet voted - and Webster is insisting he will invalidate them.

Those precincts include voters from the University of Maine at Machias, in the heart of Washington County. Ron Paul has, so far, won the plurality of votes cast among college students in every state in which a primary or caucus has been held.

Maine's caucuses do not all happen at the same time, as each Town decides how to conduct their own caucuses. In Maine, caucuses began as early as February 4 and continued throughout the week. But the results announced this past hour only account for just 83 percent of all of the precincts in the state. Caucuses in Washington County, which were originally scheduled today, were postponed until next weekend because a major snowstorm hit today.

The official weather forecast:

Moderate to heavy snow and strong winds will create very hazardous traveling conditions. Frequent blowing and drifting snow will cause near whiteout conditions at times.

Schools and other meeting facilities were closed.

Is it possible, in a County of almost 33,000 residents and a university campus, that Romney's “victory” margin of only 194 votes might disappear?

Webster doesn’t want to take any chances. In an effort to preserve a Romney victory at all costs, Webster declared that any caucus results that come in after tonight would not, under any circumstances, be counted.

A century and a half ago, there was a common political cliche that said, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation!.” This was not necessarily because Maine was a bellweather state, but because Maine voters would cast their votes in September, rather than on the usual national November Election Day. Yankee pragmatism suggested that the threat of severe winter weather in November should naturally mean that Mainers be given the chance to cast their votes earlier in the season, when they weren’t likely to be battling two feet of snow and freezing rain.

And so, in another pragmatic decision that was supported by a century-old, long-honored Maine tradition, Washington County officials delayed the caucuses because of severe February winter weather. But Webster won't count them.

Apparently, Webster is more interested in disenfranchising voters and securing a Romney win at all costs...making Maine the second state stolen by Mitt Romney in the Republican race for the nomination.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

May 24-May 28: Marriage Equality March in Maine

Like Martin Luther King's marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama - the mission of the Maine LGBT Civil Rights March is to bring thousands of LGBT rights supporters together to march from Portland to Augusta, Maine with one simple message: Civil Rights Now.

Planning: We planning an event like Maine has never seen before. A 5-day march from Portland to Augusta. A 5-day march from Bangor to Augusta. Meeting in the Middle for Equality. Join us.

Info and Signup on for MAINE LGBT Civil Rights March