5 things to watch in every state: Maine

Beside the University of Maine e-mailing me about going to their law school, there are a few elections worth watching there. I have it ranked in order of what I’m interested in.

  1. U.S. House of Representatives, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District:  This is a fairly Democratic leaning district, at least in the past.  Barack Obama won the district with 52.9% of the vote, winning by 8 points over Mitt Romney.  Bruce Poliquin, a Republican was able to win election in 2014.  Mike Michaud, the former Representative had decided to run for Governor losing to Paul LePage.  In recent polls in the district, voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District are increasingly frustrated with Poliquin for sitting out the Presidential election, as best he can.  His challenger Emily Cain, is the same one he faced in 2014 who he beat by 15,000 votes with 31,337 votes going to a third party candidate.  In a more Democratic year, it seems like Cain would have a better chance to defeat Poliquin.  But it depends on the next election.
  2. Presidential election, Maine’s 2nd Congressional District: Like I said, above, this district voted for Barack Obama twice.  In 2008 and 2012.  It’s very rare for a Congressional district to split the electoral votes (like Nebraska’s 2nd in 2008).  But Trump is trying for a split, here.  The appeal of Trump in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District is his appeal to white non-college educated voters.  It seems like a stronger area for Trump to be able to get 1 electoral vote and have Maine split their electoral votes.  I’m pretty interested in watching to see if the electoral vote gets split.
  3. Question 5: Maine is trying to change their voting system.  Ralph Nader did run on a ranked choice platform in 2000 (weird to remember that, huh).  Ranked choice voting would also move the system to an instant runoff system.  What would happen, if passed, is that the voters would go through and rank their choices in order of who they would want to be elected.  Last place candidates would be eliminated until someone has a majority of votes.  In theory, you couldn’t run on an appeal to just your base because you would have to form a coalition to be able to convince some voters on the other side to at least rank your candidate fairly high.  I’m like 99% sure that this is on the ballot because Paul LePage was elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 thanks to the third party spoiler campaign of Eliot Cutler.
  4. Question 3: This would more or less require universal background checks for gun sales and transfers with exceptions for family members.  The universal background check requirement, in theory, would close the gun show loophole in Maine.  Of course, the NRA and other gun rights activists are opposing the measure as an unprecedented attack on freedom.
  5. Question 2: This is a ballot measure to help fund public education in Maine.  This would pass an additional 3% tax surcharge on incomes above $200,000 to be earmarked for public education.  To clarify this, the tax would only be on the income that is above $200,000.  So if your income was $201,000, you would be taxed an additional 3% on that $1,000.
  6. Question 4: This ballot measure would gradually increase the minimum wage in Maine to $12/hour by 2020 and then index the minimum wage to inflation at that point.  Most of the opponents of the Amendment are Republicans and pro-business organizations.  Based on the polling, it looks like the Amendment will pass with flying colors and will lift many Mainers out of poverty or somewhat close to a better life.