Joe Baldacci to lead anti-Trump super PAC’s effort in Maine

Good morning from Augusta, where we’re finding a new Maine connection to a Democratic super political action committee aimed at stopping presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci has been named the Maine chairman of the Keep America Great political action committee, which is aiming to raise $20 million through Election Day, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Super PACs can raise unlimited amounts of money to support or oppose candidates, but this group’s organizers have said they’ll rely on small donations from grassroots supporters, much like the model that fueled Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ campaign this year.

The effort is unique in that it’s organizing explicitly against Trump rather than for Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton. The effort is being led by prominent Democratic operatives, including Chairman Jon Cooper, who ran an unsuccessful effort to draft Vice President Joe Biden for this year’s election, and chairs in all 50 states.

Baldacci, a lawyer who aborted a run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District earlier this year, is a longtime Clinton ally: He supported her in the 2008 primary against Barack Obama, as did his brother, former Gov. John Baldacci.

He said it’s a volunteer position in which he’ll be functioning mostly as a “voice of reason” against Trump in the media, highlighting issues where the billionaire is “way off base” with mainstream voters.

In one way, the anti-Trump effort seems to be beating Trump to organizing in Maine: He has said he wants to make the state a focal point and rallied here last month, but we haven’t seen staff announcements yet. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • You’ll feel the Bern from Kittery: It isn’t quite Maine news, but Sanders will endorse Clinton on Tuesday at an event just over the Piscataqua River in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It ends the Vermont senator’s long holdout in a race that Clinton has effectively had wrapped up for months. The location is notable, given that Sanders easily won the New Hampshire primary and the Maine caucuses.
  • NRA fights ‘elites’ in Maine campaign: The National Rifle Association has rolled out a website in its effort against Question 3 on Maine’s November ballot, which would expand background checks to private gun sales and transfers. The group has long been expected to front the campaign funded by millions from Everytown for Gun Safety, a group founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The site implores Mainers not to let “New York City and Boston elites dictate Mainers’ gun rights.”
  • Beer government: U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree is hosting a Monday morning roundtable in Portland with craft brewers, hops and malt growers and state and federal officials on facilitating relationships between different Maine industries. It’s from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. at Shipyard Brewing Company.
  • Treatment rule changes: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is holding a public hearing on proposed changes to rules around medication-assisted treatment for drug addiction on Monday in Augusta. — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

Defending gun rights in Maine (minus the western part, I guess)

Back to a less consequential issue on the Question 3 campaign: Maine, according to the logo on the NRA-backed group’s website, has some problems.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 9.41.42 PM

It only shows the portion of Maine east of a point somewhere around maybe Sagadahoc County in a line to the Quebec border in southwest Aroostook County, leaving out the most populous section of the state.

Nearly as bad are the problems with the coast: Penobscot Bay isn’t shaped like a box, and Down East isn’t a diagonal line from Castine to Lubec.

Maybe it’s just this two-time Hall-Dale Middle School geography bee champion talking (I was very upset about my 7th grade loss), but maps matter, especially when you’re calling the opposition outsiders. Here’s your soundtrack— Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.