Roundup: GOP fields full slate of House candidates, CDC whistle-blower wins award

For the first time in almost a decade, the Maine Republican Party is fielding a full slate of candidates in the House of Representatives, the party announced on Monday.

Monday was the deadline for partisan candidates to file the required signatures with the Secretary of State. Signatures were turned in by Republican candidates in each of the 151 House seats, according to House Republican Campaign Committee spokesman David Sorensen, who is also the spokesman for the House Republican Office.

Republicans are hoping to capitalize on the presence of incumbent Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins to drive GOP support down the ballot, said House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, in a press release.

Meanwhile, Democrats have filed signatures in 145 districts. The six districts without Democrats on the ballot will feature Democrat-approved independent candidates, said House Majority Leader Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham.

Those independents include Jeff Evangelos of Friendship, Joe Brooks of Winterport and James Campbell of Newfield, all incumbents who already caucus with the Democrats. Berry said the other three have not yet filed their signatures (unenrolled candidates have until July), and he will leave it to them to announce their candidacies.

Another incumbent independent that caucuses with the Democrats, Ben Chipman of Portland, will face opposition from Democrat Herb Adams, who has represented part of Portland in eight legislatures. Chipman took over the seat in 2010 when Adams was termed out of office, and successfully defended the seat against him in 2012.

CDC whistle-blower to win Sunshine Award

Sharon Leahy-Lind, the former director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Local Public Health, will be given the Sunshine Award on Wednesday. The award is given by the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition to commemorate champions of government transparency and open access.

Leahy-Lind said in 2013 that her bosses at the CDC ordered her to destroy documents that showed the scoring results for the 27 Healthy Maine Partnerships at the center of controversy over hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funding. She said the scoring was manipulated to favor certain organizations over others. The Sun Journal had requested the documents before they were shredded.

The revelation kicked off a government inquiry which recently led to subpoenas being issued to several high-level CDC officials. Leahy-Lind is also involved in a lawsuit against the agency, which she claims violated the Whistleblower Protection Act when she refused to destroy the documents. Recently, the state Attorney General withdrew its defense of the agency, prompting the state to hire private lawyers.

Speaking of document shredding …

I’m sure nothing untoward is going on in this truck, but given the ongoing scandal about document shredding at the State House, this photo begged to be shot today.

Shredding on Site

Mario Moretto

About Mario Moretto

Mario Moretto has been a Maine journalist, in print and online publications, since 2009. He joined the Bangor Daily News in 2012, first as a general assignment reporter in his native Hancock County and, now, in the State House. Mario left the BDN in 2015.