Trump cancels Thursday rally in Portland citing ‘routing issue’

Good morning from Augusta, where we were girding for a planned Maine campaign stop by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump this week. However, it has been canceled.

Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said Trump’s campaign canceled the planned Thursday rally at the Portland Expo, citing a “campaign routing issue.” The Maine Republican Party didn’t acknowledge the event on Friday.

It comes during what’s shaping up to be a bad week for his campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton after The New York Times’ Saturday bombshell report that he could have avoided paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years. The same night, he gave a particularly disjointed speech in Pennsylvania.

Clinton’s standing improved after last week’s debate with Trump. She was the clear winner in post-debate polling, with 53 percent in a Washington Post-ABC poll saying Clinton won to 18 percent for Trump. FiveThirtyEight saw polling gains in key swing states, including New Hampshire, Michigan, Florida and Nevada, giving her a 76 percent chance of winning the election if it was today.

We haven’t seen post-debate polls in Maine, but if the swing-state phenomenon also applies here, Clinton may have improved her position slightly. Mid-September polls from the Portland Press Herald and the progressive Maine People’s Resource Center found the two tied and Clinton up by three points, respectively.

However, Trump is still within striking distance nationally. He could be on the cusp of making history in Maine, where no Republican presidential candidate has won the state since 1988.

But for now, he’ll have to rest on his laurels here, although Grondin said the campaign is looking to reschedule with no date set. — Michael Shepherd

Quick hits

  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx will be in Maine today to tour infrastructure improved with federal funds. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, the Maine Republican who chairs the budget subcommittee on transportation, invited Foxx to tour the new, $174 million Sarah Mildred Long Bridge carrying U.S. Route 1 between Kittery and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which is set to open next year and won $25 million in federal money for a railroad portion. Collins, Foxx and Maine Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt will also tour the Port of Portland, which won a $7.7 million federal grant to improve capacity this year. They’ll hold a news conference at 3:15 p.m. in Portland.
  • A Republican businessman running for the Maine Legislature drew ire from progressives after saying Maine’s 2016 minimum wage referendum could give more money to drug users. “Where would that money be spent? We’ve heard about the opiate issues in the state of Maine. Are we going to add more income to individuals so they can spend it on illegal activities? I’m very concerned about that,” said Rick Snow of Yarmouth at a Sept. 28 news conference with the Maine Heritage Policy Center, according to the news arm of the progressive Maine People’s Alliance. Snow owns Maine Indoor Karting and is running against Rep. Janice Cooper, D-Yarmouth. An official with a national group supporting the referendum told The Huffington Post that “comments like these prove how out of touch these opposition groups are with the rest of America.”
  • Politicking for a probate judge position? The Maine Democratic Party and Bryan Chabot, their candidate for probate judge in York County, will hold a news conference in Alfred on Monday to “call out” Probate Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau, an independent who was suspended for 30 days for an ethical breach this year. Another independent, Bernard Broder, is also running for the seat. The part-time position pays $1,000 per week.  — Michael Shepherd

Reading list

The subject of a great attack ad was in Maine this weekend

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes was one of the keynote speakers at an annual Maine Democratic Party dinner in Scarborough on Saturday.

She’s a minor national party star after her 2014 campaign against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Their race was heavily targeted at first, but McConnell ended up beating her by 16 points.

Why’d she fall short? I didn’t pay attention. But maybe it was because of your soundtrack, a great Autotuned attack ad from McConnell’s campaign. (It probably wasn’t.) — 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.