What did Maine’s Cruz delegates think of Trump’s speech?

Good morning from my apartment in Gardiner, where I was up late watching Donald Trump accept the Republican presidential nomination. He said America is increasingly threatened by crime and terrorism and he’s the only one who can fix it.

But the context-free picture he painted was far bleaker than reality. The New York Times, Washington Post and Associated Press all have useful fact-checks that lay those problems out well. For example, homicides are down by half since 1991.

Trump had a difficult job at the convention. His chief primary rival, Ted Cruz, delivered a Wednesday speech in which he didn’t endorse Trump and eventually got booed off the stage. Earlier this week, he fended off an uprising from “Never Trump” delegates, some of whom were in Maine’s Cruz-heavy delegation.

But Thursday’s speech was a chance to mend those relationships and appeal to the religious conservatives who make up Cruz’s wing of the party and have been wary of the boastful, thrice-married Trump, who has been on the cover of Playboy and jawed about his sex life with Howard Stern over the years.

Based on reactions from Maine’s Cruz delegates, the speech landed.

State Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon Falls, said he was encouraged when Trump said he’d try to repeal the Johnson amendment, a provision prohibiting churches and other nonprofits that have tax-exempt status from endorsing political candidates.

Religious groups have long targeted that, and Crafts said churches have a First Amendment right to “say what they believe” from the pulpit and “I hope it happens soon.”

Rep. Stacey Guerin, R-Glenburn, said “general feeling on the convention floor last night was that Trump had an excellent presentation,” highlighting the portion in which Trump said he’d appoint conservative Supreme Court justices in the mold of the late Antonin Scalia.

“Supreme Court nominations are my No. 1 deciding factor in supporting Donald Trump,” Guerin said.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, a libertarian-minded Republican from Auburn who initially supported Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, said he was “glad” to see Trump criticize the Bush and Obama administrations’ interventionist foreign policy.

Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, said Trump “hit every note he needed to hit,” sounding “presidential” while remaining the outsider that romped to a surprising victory in the primaries.

“He outlined a vision of an America that wins and stays true to her creed,” he said. — Michael Shepherd 

Angus King loves Clinton’s likely VP pick. Progressives don’t.

Over on the Democratic side, Maine’s newly minted Hillary Clinton endorser, independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, threw his support behind Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine in the vice presidential sweepstakes.

Clinton is expected to announce her pick today. Signs are pointing to Kaine, according to The New York Times. He’s a centrist, Spanish-speaking ex-governor criticized by some as a boring pick. However, that may not be bad as an antidote to Trump.

King, however, would not be bored by the pick. He wrote an entertaining piece in The Daily Beast on Thursday listing “15 Reasons Hillary Clinton Should Tap Tim Kaine.”

They ranged from his extensive experience in government and his “completely unpretentious and un-pompous” personality. Three of the reasons were, “He would make an excellent president, if the circumstances demanded it,” which King said is “far and away the most important criterion.”

But progressives, including state Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland, are not happy after Kaine signed onto a letter this week urging bank regulators to “prevent any unintended consequences that negatively impact community banks and credit unions.” It didn’t call for specific rollbacks, but progressives took it to mean that.

Russell backed Clinton opponent Bernie Sanders and she’s leading an uphill push to abolish party “superdelegates” starting Saturday in the Rules Committee ahead of next week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

She sent out a Thursday press release calling the potential vice presidential nominee “Tim ‘Big Banks’ Kaine,” linking his consideration to her rules push.

“It’s a perfect example of why the party needs to create policies and pick candidates who reflect the will of the voters, not the will of elites and special interests that the superdelegate system has come to embody,” she said. — Michael Shepherd 

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Best of Maine’s Craigslist

  • Those are all parts of the day: “[I like] getting stoned in the morning, I like getting stoned in the afternoon,” says an “older male stoner” in Lewiston or Auburn seeking “another male stoner” for one particular activity. “I like getting stoned in the evening and I especially like getting stoned at night.” Here’s your soundtrack.
  • It’s funnier without context: “I have a large truck load of horse crap in my barn,” says somebody in Parkman.
  • He doesn’t read the Daily Brief: “I am SO tired of being lied-to and treated like someone without a brain by the media and by politicians,” says a self-described “grouchy and cynical” man. We’d never lie to you at the DB. Subscribe here— 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.