Maine candidate who called his opponent a ‘creepy pervert’ faces scrutiny this week

Good morning from Augusta. Maine’s strange Republican U.S. Senate primary ramped up over the weekend with Max Linn facing another hearing on his ballot status while calling his opponents, state Sen. Eric Brakey, a “creepy pervert” on social media before deleting it.

There may not be a primary for long. On Friday, a judge ordered Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to review the signatures that Linn, a former Florida gubernatorial candidate who now lives in Bar Harbor, collected to qualify for the June primary. An earlier review by Dunlap disqualified hundreds of signatures — several of which were the names of people who had died.

That left Linn with only 18 more than the minimum required for ballot access. Brakey’s campaign went to court to challenge more Linn signatures, saying they found enough bad signatures to disqualify Linn. The judge agreed that more evidence should be taken. Dunlap spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski said Linn’s new hearing on that will likely be on Tuesday.

Linn’s name will physically be on the ballot, but he can still be disqualified. After the hearing, Dunlap can rule again on Linn’s ballot status and the case will return to Superior Court. If Dunlap were to rule that Linn didn’t qualify and the judge upholds that, the candidate could sue and the case would almost certainly end up before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Muszynski said on Monday that it’s already too late to physically remove Linn’s name from the June primary ballot. But she said that if Dunlap disqualifies him, notices will be provided to voters, which is standard practices when candidates drop out late in races.

Until then, a bizarre campaign continues. Brakey is libertarian-leaning while Linn ran for Florida governor in 2006 as a Reform Party candidate and a congressional seat in that state as a Democrat before resurfacing in Maine politics as a pro-President Donald Trump Republican.

Linn’s campaign has often looked as if it is mimicking Trump. One of the best examples came over the weekend, when he called Brakey a “creepy pervert” for voting to sustain Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill aimed at expanding Maine’s laws against indecent conduct to include sending unwanted explicit digital images to children.

The bill survived LePage’s veto last week, but Brakey and some Republicans opposed it over concerns that children sending explicit images to each other may be affected by the law — and Brakey reminded Linn on Facebook that the Republican governor opposed the bill as well before Linn deleted the post.

Reading list

  • Susan Collins criticized the timing of James Comey’s book release. During a Sunday morning appearance on “Meet the Press,” Maine’s Republican senator said the former FBI director should not have released his memoir during an ongoing investigation of Russian interference in U.S. elections. Comey’s firing last May led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign. Collins serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which also has been conducting an investigation of Russian interference for more than a year.
  • People struggling with addiction along Maine’s coast continue to have difficulty finding resources. In recent years, addiction treatment professionals and peer support groups in Knox County have worked to increase options for people fighting addiction, but challenges remain. “I can’t even tell you the people who reach out to me that are ready for help and there is nowhere to go,” said Jasmin Pike, who has been in recovery for five years and offers peer support to others seeking aid.
  • Troubles in Madagascar are reverberating all the way to Maine ice cream shops. A global vanilla crisis has caused such a spike in the price of vanilla that Mount Desert Ice Cream owner Linda Parker has stopped serving the flavor at her shops in Bar Harbor, Portland and Washington, D.C. “Beans used to be $100 per pound, with about 100 beans in a pound. It’s gone up to about $450. And there’s a lot of talk of there being no beans for sale at all,” she said, explaining her decision to stop serving her favorite flavor. Other ice cream makers are considering switching to artificial vanilla if the problem persists.

Preserving the memory for a friend

I spent my fourth night on a World War II-era battleship Saturday night with a group of Cub Scouts when we went to Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts, and slept aboard the USS Massachusetts. My 7-year-old had an absolute blast and we made memories he’ll hold forever.

For the uninitiated, there is a surprise about this trip that you might not fully grasp until you’re back home: the smell.

Aboard, there’s a sort of musty basement smell, though it’s really all its own. One parent remarked over the weekend that “that’s the smell of all this steel” and another replied, “it’s left-over diesel and gunpowder from World War II.”

My wife has never been aboard a battleship but she is well aware of the smell. As soon as we return home, she orders us to strip and puts every piece of clothing that went on the trip through the wash. That’s what happened yesterday, and this morning she told our son he needed to take a shower before school and then headed to work.

“You really have to shower,” I told him a little later. “Mom says you smell like battleship.”

He is always trying to resist showers but this morning it was one of his pals at school he was supposedly standing up for.

“Noooo,” he said. “I want Eliot to see what I smell like. He doesn’t know what battleship smells like.”

“He doesn’t know what you smell like when you’re clean, either,” I said. “Get in the shower.”

Here’s his soundtrack. Christopher Cousins

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Christopher Cousins, Michael Shepherd and 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.

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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.