LePage-backed candidates strike out in primaries



The last primary election to be decided in Hancock County is now on the books. In a recount requested by her opponent, incumbent Bucksport Republican Kimberley Rosen’s margin shrank by eight votes, but she was confirmed the winner by 52 votes. Her opponent was Larry Lockman of Bradley, an extreme conservative who enjoyed the backing of former Governor Paul LePage. LePage had praised Lockman for being “always very diligent about reading the material.”

In the fall, Rosen will face Democrat Bev Uhlenhake, a former mayor of Brewer, in a repeat of the last Senate District 8 general election. Independent Teresa Montague of Clifton also will be on the general election ballot. She was previously a Democratic candidate for the Maine House.

Rosen was one of a trio of Republican primary candidates whose opponents were backed by LePage — and lost. Former state Sen. Brian Langley of Ellsworth handily beat LePage favorite John Linnehan.

Sen. Paul Davis of Sangerville, a beady-eyed former state trooper with whom you would not argue a speeding ticket, defeated former Sen. Doug Thomas (Ripley) in the primary. Davis was also the victor in a 2014 race against then-incumbent Thomas for the Senate seat Davis now holds. News reports said Thomas did not know Davis was running when he filed. LePage said he didn’t know either, but when Davis publicly challenged Thomas’s claim to the LePage endorsement, LePage let it stand. So much for that.

In other post-primary news, Max Linn, a Bar Harbor resident and independent candidate for U.S. Senate, withdrew from the race — or not. Where to begin? Linn announced for the U.S. Senate race in 2018 but did not qualify for the primary ballot due to the number of qualifying signatures that came from the grateful dead.

Linn was likewise challenged for the 2020 primary ballot, but this time his candidacy survived when Maine’s secretary of state ruled his signatures sufficient. Then a spokesperson said Linn would announce his withdrawal from the race on July 28 and endorse incumbent Sen. Susan Collins. Then Linn said nope, he wouldn’t, not unless Collins endorsed five of Linn’s policies.

Those policies are financial relief for small businesses, $5,000 to every U.S. family, an endorsement of term limits, student loan relief and opposition to the Central Maine Power hydropower corridor. Collins uttered not a peep about the challenge, and it is a safe bet she never will, not being one to make a three-day story out of a one-day story.

Advice to would-be politicians: Do not take on the pros with stupid demands. And deadlines? Linn gave Collins a deadline of Aug. 3 to respond. The silence from Collins’ office is deafening. More advice: Don’t give a senator a stupid deadline for a stupid demand. One newspaper put it delicately: “Collins’ campaign did not immediately respond to an inquiry about Linn…”

Compile a history of Max Linn’s previous election adventures and you will be left wondering why on Earth he keeps at it. Attention? Notoriety? The illusion that he is off the porch and running with the big dogs? During his time in Florida, he left behind a handful of unsuccessful campaigns and one crashed airplane.

Another independent, Lisa Savage, is successfully on the ballot and yet another, Tiffany Bond, is still trying. Bond is blaming COVID-19 for her inability to gather the necessary qualifying signatures. Her argument is weakened by the fact that both Linn and Savage did so. Bond, an attorney, says that under the current circumstances the signature requirement is unconstitutional. In her suit, she cites Governor Janet Mills’ executive order as rendering signature collection “unlawful and functionally impossible,” requiring “resources beyond the normal means of independent candidates.”

Bond is also a serial candidate, but a more eloquent one than Max Linn. She is serious about campaign finance reform, asking supporters to donate not to her but to the local charity of their choice. Between signature gatherers who became reluctant to continue the effort and voters disinclined to open the door and handle pens and petitions from a stranger, she came up short.

Now it’s all over but the waiting, plus the screaming, ranting, wailing, predicting, mudslinging, polling, speculating, hand-wringing, pontificating and other accoutrements of an election campaign season. There is also the current anxiety about “rigged” elections and the acceptance — or not — of the results.

Mark Twain may have been ahead of his time when he said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” Voter suppression, the closing of many polling places and messing with the U.S. Postal Service — what’s all that about? This year, voting will make the biggest difference ever. Will they let us do it?

 

Jill Goldthwait

Jill Goldthwait

Retired nurse and former independent Maine State Senator.

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