Good morning from Augusta. There are 49 days until Election Day.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “This has been an unusual year,” said Kevin Schneider, the superintendent of Acadia National Park, which saw traffic down only 10 percent in August with tourism picking up in Maine. “We’re not as bad off as other parks across the country.” Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
Presidential politics in Maine are picking up this week, at least on the airwaves. President Donald Trump’s campaign is up with a six-figure ad buy in Maine, according to federal filings, mostly targeting the Bangor market so far. The Republican president won Maine’s 2nd District by 10 points in 2016 but has been roughly tied with former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee, in polls there over the past few months with one elector at stake.
The Trump campaign’s decision to run ads in Maine came as it cut an expected ad buy in neighboring New Hampshire, which Trump lost by 3,000 votes in 2016, according to Advertising Analytics. It also followed the Biden campaign’s own ad buy in southern Maine last week that may be more targeted at New Hampshire.
Trump has made Maine a priority this year with executive actions targeting the state, but it is not clear whether that has paid off. The president visited Maine in June, holding a roundtable with fishermen in Bangor and speaking at a factory in Guilford. During that visit, he said he planned to win the whole state this year. That looks unlikely with Biden up more than 11 points on average in polls here since July, according to Real Clear Politics.
During his Maine visit, Trump signed an executive order allowing fishing in a national monument southeast of Cape Cod. Maine fishermen generally appreciated the gesture, but few, if any, actually fish there. The president has had a bit more success on trade. His administration negotiated with the European Union to eliminate tariffs on exported American lobster so that Maine lobstermen are no longer at a trade disadvantage compared to their Canadian counterparts.
He also expanded an agriculture program to provide financial compensation to fishermen and lobstermen affected by Chinese tariffs amid Trump’s trade war, but the rollout of the program frustrated industry leaders in Maine by excluding processors.
Biden, who recently resumed traveling, has not visited Maine, though his campaign has been regularly holding virtual events here. Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, will headline a manufacturing event for Biden today. The former vice president also continues to roll out endorsements, including a batch this week from Democratic law enforcement officials.
He also picked up the support of two prominent Maine Republicans, former state Senate President Kevin Raye and former state Sen. Roger Katz, who wrote in a BDN OpEd last week that Trump “lacks the honesty, integrity, empathy and leadership skills our nation so badly needs.”
The Maine politics top 3
— “Pandemic, presidential politics and civil unrest are driving people to purchase guns in Maine,” David Marino Jr., Bangor Daily News: “While gun sales have experienced a nationwide rise, Maine’s surge is higher than the 45 percent national increase during the March-August period. … Vendors … attribute the rise to the pandemic, but also to several other factors, including the 2020 presidential election, an increase in outdoor recreation, a rise in civil unrest since the death of George Floyd in May and stimulus checks issued under the CARES Act.”
— “Ad Watch: Ads linking Susan Collins’ votes to husband cite broad, bipartisan actions,” Jessica Piper, BDN: “In the end, the ad points to [Sen. Susan] Collins’ support for measures that might have benefited the lobbying firm where her husband was an executive, but it fails to note that those actions were broad, had bipartisan support and took place before the pair were married. Those are all crucial points.”
The Democratic candidate is breaking with Biden when it comes to knocking on doors. House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is in a tight 2020 race with Collins, is one of several high-profile Democrats across the country to restart in-person canvassing, according to Politico. That breaks from Biden, who has allied groups pushing him to restart as it has been a point of emphasis for Trump and the Republican National Committee. In Maine, the state Democratic Party is canvassing with distancing measures in effect, as Republicans have said.
— “How fishermen and lobstermen can apply for federal aid to offset tariff losses,” Piper, BDN: “The federal government allocated nearly $530 million for the program, but no individual or entity can receive more than $250,000. The payments are calculated based on each fisherman or lobsterman’s total 2019 haul in pounds, multiplied by a rate calculated by the Department of Agriculture to assess damages from trade. For lobster, that rate is 50 cents per pound.”
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.