Aligned with Trump, a former Florida political gadfly wants to challenge Angus King

Good morning from Augusta. A former Florida gubernatorial candidate who has been a third-party candidate and Democrat told Maine Republicans on Saturday that, as a firm supporter of President Donald Trump, he wants their nomination to run against U.S. Sen. Angus King.

His name is Max Linn. He has long had a home in Bar Harbor, but he had a colorful and often controversial political history in Florida before registering to vote in Maine. It has been a strange road to his becoming an insurgent Republican candidate in Maine, though he hasn’t filed for the race yet.

Linn represented views all over the political spectrum during nearly two decades often on the periphery of Florida politics. A financial planner, he was the Reform Party’s 2006 gubernatorial candidate, but he won only 2 percent of votes. Just before that, the St. Petersburg Times did a rundown of his political career to date. He ran for state Senate as a Republican in 1990, but the bid was marred by a sexual harassment allegation that he denied and was dropped. In 2002, he sold his planning business for a reported $4 million. Three years later, he faced another sexual harassment allegation that he denied and was again dropped. During that 2006 campaign, he said he was pro-abortion rights but conservative on taxes and spending. Before the election, he landed a plane on a Florida highway.

After running another campaign as a Democrat, he moved to Maine full time. In 2008, he ran as a Democrat in a congressional primary, a race that was punctuated by an episode in which he announced that he was suspending his campaign to support Barack Obama’s presidential bid. But he rescinded that and lost the primary handily. Bar Harbor records show that he has been registered to vote as a Republican there since 2011, though he told the Mount Desert Islander last January that he was spending his first winter on Mount Desert Island.

Now, he’s aligned firmly with Trump. Linn announced his Senate candidacy in a speech to the Maine Republican Party’s state committee on Saturday, saying he has supported Trump’s candidacy since September 2015. He said Maine has seen the “devastating effects of open-border immigration” and that immigrants here illegally “need to go back home.” Linn’s campaign manager is Matt McDonald, who has been involved with the pro-Trump website Maine First Media. On Tuesday, McDonald said Linn wasn’t available for an interview, but that his campaign will also focus on infrastructure, trade policy and a “strong military.” State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, is the only Republican running against King, an independent who caucuses with Democrats, so far. McDonald said Linn is “in the process” of readying to file.

Today in A-town

The House and Senate are out until Thursday and today’s action is at the committee level with a hefty schedule today. The State and Local Government Committee will take testimony on a bill this morning that would scrub the words “selectman” and “selectmen” from Maine laws and replace them with “selectperson” and “selectpersons.” The Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee will consider a recommendation on a bill that would protect callers — such as out-of-state telemarketers — from using phone numbers that look like they are from Maine. The Criminal Justice Committee will continue its work to curtail human trafficking with two bills that would increase penalties. Over in the energy committee, the issue of solar power is in the limelight again with the committee considering forwarding legislation to the full House and Senate.

Reading list

  • The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled against Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to ban food stamps for certain immigrants. The ruling involved a suit from a Burundian immigrant who lives in Portland, but the high court’s decision could affect applications for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for more than 100 other immigrants. The ruling overturned a Maine Superior Court ruling from 2016.
  • Jackman’s town manager was fired Tuesday. The board of selectmen voted unanimously to terminate Tom Kawczynski’s employment contract Tuesday morning because he openly supports racial segregation and condemns Islam. Kawczynski will receive a severance of $30,000 in exchange for agreeing not to take legal action against the town.
  • The Maine Democratic Party has filed an ethics complaint against an anonymous news site. The complaint, filed Tuesday, alleges that the Maine Examiner website made expenditures in last year’s Lewiston mayoral race that should have been reported under Maine campaign finance laws. The complaint alleges “there is reason to believe” the Maine Republican Party supports the Maine Examiner. But it offers no evidence to back that claim.
  • LePage has nominated a Poland Spring employee to the Board of Environmental Protection. Mark Dubois, a hydrogeologist for the water company, will have his nomination voted by the full Senate following a recommendation from the Legislature’s environment committee, which meets to interview him today. Maine Public reports that environmentalists are already in opposition because they fear Dubois could make it easier for Poland Spring to expand. But board members often recuse themselves from matters they have an interest in.
  • As expected, backers of a York County casino are appealing a $500,000 Maine Ethics Commission fine. Lisa Scott, who ran four campaign committees in favor of Question 1 on last November’s ballot, filed the appeal Monday in Kennebec County Superior Court, asking the court to cancel fines from the Maine Ethics Commission and find that she did not fraudulently claim she had donated millions to the campaign, not her brother, Shawn Scott.

Greatest. Super Bowl. Wardrobe decision. Of. All. Time.

No, we’re not talking about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, in which Justin Timberlake “accidentally” exposed her breast on worldwide television while singing the lyric “I’m going to have you naked by the end of this song.”

We’re talking about the New England Patriots, who announced this week that they will wear their white uniforms instead of their blue ones when they return to the Super Bowl to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 4. The Pats are 3-1 in the big show when they wear white — and undefeated under coach Bill Belichick — and teams wearing white have won 12 of the last 13 Super Bowls and 33 of 18 all time.

Here at the Daily Brief we know that not all of you are football fans but we’re hoping you’ll join us in praying there won’t be another wardrobe malfunction based around this decision. The chances of that might be slimmer than usual with Timberlake taking the stage again this year during the halftime show.

If you’re reading, Justin, we have a soundtrack for you and suggest you start practicing it now. — Christopher Cousins

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd and edited by Robert Long. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to get Maine’s only newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings.

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.