Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

#MAINE (blog)

Study: How you smell could lead you to a politically like-minded mate

on Sept. 17, 2014, at 3:40 p.m.
What do liberals smell like? According to a new study published in the American Journal of Political Science, their odor is different from conservatives’ and could have as much to do with political ideology as it does grooming habits. Furthermore, the study found that your nose could lead you to a …

Maine Republican Party launches anti-Michaud website; Democrats say they’ll reciprocate

on Sept. 17, 2014, at 12:54 p.m.
The Maine Republican Party continued its all-out assault on Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Michaud on Wednesday with the launch of a website called The site, which the GOP said was launched Wednesday but which contains posts dating back to last month, is a clearinghouse for many of the attack …
Jim Rier

Maine panel begins assessment of controversial Common Core education standards

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 16, 2014, at 4:42 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A discussion about whether Maine will become the latest state to dump national Common Core public school standards began in earnest Tuesday at the hands of a fast-tracked new panel whose recommendations will go to the Legislature next year. Education Commissioner Jim Rier told the group Tuesday …
Gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud unveiled a 10-point healthcare plan in Portland on Monday which includes lowering costs by expanding Medicaid.

‘We need to think about people not as a collection of ailments’: Michaud unveils his health care plan

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 15, 2014, at 12:25 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — As part of a wide-ranging 10-point health care plan he unveiled Monday, Democratic candidate for governor Mike Michaud reiterated his support for expanding Medicaid to 70,000 uninsured Mainers and making investments in preventative health care programs. The plan earned positive responses from health care advocates, though they …
Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

Maine attorney general to ‘evaluate’ controversial conference call, secret recording

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 12, 2014, at 7:43 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine attorney general’s office said Friday that it is evaluating competing legal claims that arose from a Sept. 4 conference call among several nonprofit groups that was recorded surreptitiously by a conservative think-tank employee. Both sides allege illegal activity by the other. Members of two of …
State Sen. Garrett Mason

Lawmakers applaud study that says Maine could add 2 casinos, increase state gaming revenues

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 10, 2014, at 5:29 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The fight over how many casinos can operate successfully in Maine could be entering its final round with the completion of a study that recommends where gaming facilities could survive in Maine and — more importantly for lawmakers — how the state can capitalize. The Legislature’s Veterans …
Sen. Geoffrey Gratwick, D-Bangor

Will person-to-person Maine politics be the next victim of secret smartphone recordings?

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 10, 2014, at 5:30 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — It was only a few years ago that if you wanted to record something, you needed a video camera or a tape recorder. Now that just about anyone with a cellphone has those capabilities, public figures ranging from police officers to politicians are learning that they have …

Eight GOP, two Democratic candidates drop out of State House races; 7 stories you need to read

on Sept. 08, 2014, at 9:50 a.m.
Eight Republican candidates and two Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives have dropped out of their respective races, eating into the GOP’s efforts to portray its slate of candidates as strong heading into the November election. Most of the GOP drop-outs were in urban districts where historically, Republicans have …

GOP picks Rent-a-Husband founder to replace candidate who died, contend for Maine Senate seat

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 05, 2014, at 2:16 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Republicans in the Windham area have chosen Kaile Warren of Windham as its candidate in Senate District 26 after the death Thursday of candidate Stuart “Toby” Pennels, according to the state’s elections chief. Warren was nominated Thursday evening in a district-level caucus. According to Deputy Secretary of …
Eliot Cutler speaks with members of the media following a press conference at the park on Maine Street in Old Town Thursday. Cutler spoke about jobs and the economy in Maine.

Cutler blisters LePage for ‘inept’ and ‘fantasy’ economic development policies

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 04, 2014, at 5:28 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler, who touted an economic development plan Thursday that rehashed some of the policy proposals he’s discussed in recent months, lashed out at Republican Gov. Paul LePage for talking more about jobs than planning to create them during his first term as …
Rep. Alex Willette

Assistant House Republican leader resigns from seat after taking job with LePage campaign

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 04, 2014, at 4:18 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Assistant House Minority Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton, who earlier this summer became the spokesman for Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election campaign, resigned from his House seat on Thursday. Willette, who represents House District 7 in central Aroostook County, said he resigned because his job with the LePage …

Republican Maine Senate candidate from Casco succumbs to motorcycle crash injuries

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 04, 2014, at 2:47 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — An accomplished combat veteran and Republican candidate for the Maine Senate died early Thursday morning from injuries he suffered Aug. 3 in a motorcycle accident near Rangeley. Stuart “Toby” Pennels of Casco, who was a candidate for the Senate District 26 seat against Democrat William Diamond, leaves …
At Lewiston City Hall, David Boyer (center), the political director for the Maine Marijuana Policy Project, turns in petitions to put a recreational marijuana question on the Lewiston ballot in this Aug. 8 photo.

Lewiston will vote on pot legalization in November

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 03, 2014, at 11:26 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Lewiston City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to place a measure on the November ballot that would legalize marijuana possession within city limits. Lewiston is one of three Maine cities grappling with the question of legalizing recreational marijuana since Portland voters overwhelmingly voted to do so in …
Former President Bill Clinton (left) and Maine gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud hit the stage at the Portland Expo on Tuesday night in Portland.

Bill Clinton stumps for Mike Michaud in Portland

By Christopher Cousins on Sept. 02, 2014, at 9:05 p.m.
PORTLAND, Maine — Former President Bill Clinton, known for his engaging and energizing off-the-cuff speeches, lived up to expectations Tuesday at a rally in favor of Democratic nominee for Maine governor Mike Michaud. Clinton, one of the most popular presidents in recent history, was quick to reference his previous visits …

Joe Biden visiting Michaud in Maine hours after Clinton leaves; Monday roundup, Tuesday edition

on Sept. 02, 2014, at 8:05 a.m.
Gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud will bring another Democratic all-star to Maine Wednesday when Vice President Joe Biden comes to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery. Biden’s visit is scheduled back-to-back with a rally for Michaud Tuesday night in Portland with former President Bill Clinton. Though Biden’s visit is being publicized by his …

‘Fed up’ Richardson rejects Poliquin call to quit congressional campaign

on Aug. 29, 2014, at 6:27 p.m.
Blaine Richardson, a staunch conservative who left the Republican Party in order to run as an independent for the 2nd Congressional District seat, said Friday that he has rejected a request from Republican candidate Bruce Poliquin to drop out. Richardson said, and a Poliquin spokesman confirmed, that Poliquin made the request …

Michaud moves rally with Clinton to larger venue after flood of ticket requests

on Aug. 29, 2014, at 8:52 a.m.
Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor has moved a rally with former President Bill Clinton to a larger venue. When the Democrat’s campaign announced Clinton’s visit earlier this week, the 750 available slots were claimed within three hours. Tuesday’s event has been moved from the Portland waterfront to the Portland Exposition Building on …
Sen. Susan Collins at the investiture ceremony for new district judge Nancy Torrensen May 3, 2012 in Portland.

Labor union endorsements for Collins bolster her identity as a rare kind of Republican

on Aug. 28, 2014, at 12:15 p.m.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins continues to pile up labor union endorsements in her bid for re-election. This time it’s three union locals at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who will line up behind the third-term U.S. senator. Members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO; the International Union of Painters and …
Walter McKee

Maine Ethics Commission changes donor limit rule in governor’s race

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 27, 2014, at 5:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday not to enforce certain campaign contribution limits in the governor’s race between now and the general election on Nov. 4. The commission’s vote came after a decision last week by U.S. District Court Judge Brock Hornby in response to …
Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler

Cutler unveils welfare reform proposal that would give cash incentives for education, good parenting

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 27, 2014, at 2:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler joined the campaign debate on welfare reform Wednesday with a plan that calls for public assistance recipients to repay some of the benefits they receive and for the state to provide cash incentives for recipients who complete their high school education …
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