Maine to see early ads boosting Emily Cain, Gary Johnson

Good morning from Portland, where I got little sleep on account of the oppressive heat and humidity that will continue into today. Forgive me for typos.

Today, we look to Maine’s airwaves, where we saw two interesting and early political advertising buys yesterday that will make the rich (TV stations) richer in a banner year. (If you want an ad in the Bangor Daily News, here’s the link, guys. Guys?)

The presidential race will be the biggest boon this year, but the nationally targeted race in Maine’s 2nd District is shaping up to be massive, too. U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, has already reserved time and party groups have booked more than $2 million.

But on Thursday, the House Majority PAC, a super PAC linked to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, aired a new ad boosting Democrat Emily Cain. The group will spend heavily in Maine this cycle, already reserving $1.6 million in airtime.

The ad features Registered Maine Guide Ray Wirth of Belfast and seeks to play up Cain’s Maine ties, even though Republicans responded by noting that Cain was born and raised out of state. She moved here at age 18, before attending the University of Maine.

That’s one of the biggest House races in the nation this year, so it was no real surprise. But another buy on behalf of Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson was.

We noted it in yesterday’s Daily Brief, but we didn’t have a handle on the full scope of it. But it reserved nearly $62,000 worth of TV time in the Bangor and Presque Isle markets, including cable. A press release from the group said it also will run radio ads.

The introductory ad appears to be the first buy nationwide from Americans Deserve Better, a little-known PAC led by Geoff Neale, who chaired the Libertarian National Committee from 2002 to 2004.

That dropped the same day as a poll from Breitbart News that showed Democrat Hillary Clinton with 43 percent support to Republican Donald Trump’s 33 percent, with Johnson taking 10 percent. The bet seems to be that Johnson could fare well here.

There’s some history to support that: In 1992, independent Ross Perot got more than 30 percent of votes here in the race between Democrat Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush, a Republican. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • The LePage administration wants a new building next to Riverview Psychiatric Center to house patients who don’t need hospital-level care, according to the Kennebec Journal. It’s a bid to win back federal certification for the state-run Augusta hospital that was lost in 2013 after violations that included use of restraints and stun guns on patients. The state believes the new 21-bed building will cost between $3 million and $5 million and five companies have submitted information allowing them to bid, the KJ said.
  • A Brewer lawmaker has re-submitted a bill inspired by actor Peter Falk of “Columbo” fame. Democrat Archie Verow’s bill would change Maine law to require a legal guardian to inform immediate family of a loved one’s hospitalization and allow recourse in court if access to that person is being “unreasonably prevented,” according to a press release. Falk’s daughter lobbies for these laws state by state after the actor died in 2011 and his wife allegedly interfered with the daughter’s ability to see him.
  • Gov. Paul LePage’s tax policy got a shout-out in a report released Thursday by the American Legislative Exchange Council. The conservative behemoth and Democratic bogeyman called the Republican governor’s proposals to reduce and eventually eliminate the income tax and abolish the estate tax “an excellent model for any state to follow in order to improve their economic competitiveness and achieve greater economic growth.” — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

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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.