This pair of file photos shows incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in 2019, left, and Maine House Speaker and Senate contender Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, right. Credit: File / AP

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I don’t know if it’s God’s will for me to win against Jared Golden,” former state Rep. Dale Crafts said after likely winning the Republican nomination over two other candidates in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District on Tuesday. “I don’t even know if it’s his will for me to win tonight. All I know is, he wants me to do this.”

What we’re watching today

The general election portion of Maine’s U.S. Senate race kicks off in full today as the party candidates hit the road. House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat, and Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, both have full schedules on Wednesday, a day after Gideon easily won the nomination to face Collins in November over lobbyist Betsy Sweet and lawyer Bre Kidman. It kicks off the general election in a race targeted by both political parties.

Gideon is starting her day talking with lobstermen in Bremen before an afternoon meeting with veterans in Augusta and an opioid recovery center in Brewer in her first slate of campaign activities. Collins is meeting with workers at Moody’s Collision Center to push the Paycheck Protection Program that she co-wrote and touring Jotul North America in Gorham.

It also means money will keep pouring into the race. Gideon is about to receive $3.7 million thanks to a fundraising effort by liberal groups that began raising crowdfunded money in 2018 for Collins’ eventual opponent when the senator was considering whether to vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. (She did.) Meanwhile, the 1820 PAC, a super PAC supporting Collins, dropped a $1.1 million statewide ad buy against Gideon Wednesday, amping up the negative advertising game in a race that has already seen plenty of it.

The Maine politics top 3

— “Dale Crafts’ path to GOP nomination in 2nd District cleared as opponents concede,” Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “The eventual winner will go head-to-head with [Rep. Jared] Golden in a district that is a target for national Republicans, since President Donald Trump won it by 10 points in 2016. It is likely that Crafts is that candidate, but the official ranked-choice count in Augusta could take more than a week.”

— “Maine voters overwhelmingly pass $120M in transportation, broadband borrowing,” Caitlin Andrews, BDN: “A $105 million bond to be largely spent on capital projects for roads and bridges passed with 78.7 percent of votes on Tuesday. A $15 million measure for broadband expansion in unserved and underserved areas was approved with 74.4 percent of votes. The Bangor Daily News and its partner, Decision Desk HQ, called both races at 9:36 p.m. with 12.7 percent of precincts reporting.”

— “Top Democrats move to call back Maine Legislature, but showdown with GOP could loom,” Michael Shepherd, BDN: “The Democrats who run the Maine Legislature began polling members Tuesday on an August return to Augusta, but minority Republicans could hold it up while looking to establish narrower terms for a charged session in an election year.”

One upset in state legislative races

Most of the winners of state legislative races Tuesday night were familiar faces. In Bangor, former City Councilor Joe Baldacci edged out state Rep. Victoria Kornfield for the Democratic nominee for Maine Senate. In Brunswick, state Rep. Mattie Daughtry easily beat former state Sen. Stan Gerzofsky for a Maine Senate nomination.

The only incumbent likely to lose a seat according to preliminary results is Rep. John DeVeau, R-Caribou, who trailed challenger Sue Bernard 73 percent to 27 percent in Caribou, with two small towns left to report. It also looks like three Maine Senate candidates endorsed by former Gov. Paul LePage lost their Republican primaries on Tuesday. We are waiting for a few outlying areas to report results to us in the election between Sen. Kim Rosen and Rep. Larry Lockman. It appears that she won by 50 votes or so, but we are still checking it out. Here’s your advertising soundtrack from the LePage-endorsed businessman John Linnehan, who lost big to former Sen. Brian Langley in a Hancock County race.

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Jessica Piper and Michael Shepherd. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email clumm@bangordailynews.com (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.

To reach us, do not reply directly to this newsletter, but contact the political team at mshepherd@bangordailynews.com, candrews@bangordailynews.com or jpiper@bangordailynews.com.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...