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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “The Subject Property suffers from severe economic obsolescence that has not been taken into account in the Assessment,” an attorney for the owner of the Bangor Mall wrote in a request to the city to significantly lower property taxes. Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
Ranked-choice counts will crown the winners of Tuesday primaries with not much drama expected. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s office will break out the Excel spreadsheet seen ‘round the world during Maine’s first ranked-choice election in 2018 to crown the last batch of winners in last Tuesday’s primaries for a federal election and five Democratic legislative primaries. The results will be tallied in Augusta at 10 a.m.
The highlight will be former state Rep. Dale Crafts’ coronation as the Republican nominee in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. His opponents, Eric Brakey and Adrienne Bennett, conceded after first-round totals showed him at 45 percent of votes with a large advantage over Bennett in second place. The count still had to be run because he was short of a majority.
Our friends at FairVote, an electoral reform group that commissioned a poll showing Crafts as the frontrunner in early July, used that poll and first-round results to estimate that Crafts will win with between 57 percent and 58 percent of votes once Brakey’s voters are reallocated.
There is not much drama there, but the race to watch will be a Democratic primary for a Maine House of Representatives seat centered in Yarmouth, where Arthur Bell had 39.3 percent of votes to 35.8 percent for Heather Abbott. Third-place finisher Peter Fromuth had 25 percent. The other four legislative races look to be in hand for the first-round leaders.
In the meantime, Crafts is acting like the nominee. President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is set to headline a “Women For Trump” bus tour stop on Wednesday in Freeport. Crafts was on the list of Maine officials attending and labeled as the party’s nominee. It is not a giant leap to say so, but it will be official after today.
The Maine politics top 3
— “Why CMP corridor opponents are pressing forward with a legally uncertain referendum,” Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “If anything, the questions may have heightened opponents’ referendum bid, which may end up as a cudgel to wield against proponents in the Legislature, which could play a pivotal role in what happens after the vote.”
— “Wave of evictions expected as courts reopen, assistance and protections expire,” Randy Billings, Portland Press Herald: “To date, nearly 13,000 households have applied for one-time payments of $500 in rental assistance from the state because of lost income during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some advocates say 2,000 or more evictions could be filed when the courts reopen for eviction proceedings in August.”
— “Bath Iron Works union ready to meet mediator as strike drags on,” The Associated Press: “The Machinists union also has written to Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite to clarify whether the Navy endorses the use of subcontractors, a key point of contention between the company and its production workers.”
Legislative meetings now feature public comment option
Public hearings are a staple of the State House culture, but the option has been limited during the coronavirus pandemic. Constituents have needed to pass their comments onto lawmakers if they want a question asked at the virtual briefings that have been held during the coronavirus pandemic, but as of last week, a sign-up option is available, according to the Legislature’s website.
The comments may not go far, as any plans for a special session seem to be on hold for now. But those interested are encouraged to sign up the day before a meeting, or they can submit written testimony online.
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd and Caitlin Andrews. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email firstname.lastname@example.org (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.