Good morning from Augusta. There are 12 days until the November election.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “There are a lot of Blind Pigs out there,” said Brandi Kennerson, co-owner of Blind Pig Tavern in Gardiner. A different Blind Pig Tavern in Ann Arbor, Michigan, was featured in an ad from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, but Kennerson said the Gardiner bar is staying out of politics. Here’s your soundtrack.
What we’re watching today
Maine’s U.S. Senate candidates will meet for the fourth time as part of a stacked evening of political debates. Sen. Susan Collins, House Speaker Sara Gideon and independents Lisa Savage and Max Linn will face off at 7 p.m. for a debate hosted by News Center Maine and the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.
Previous debates have yielded little new information. Collins a mnd Gideon have largely held their own while repeating attacks their campaigns have already made in ads or the press. Savage, a former teacher running on a progressive agenda, has generally been praised for her performances, while Linn was calmer in the most recent debate after a disruptive presence in the first two. Neither independent has registered much in recent polls, though they may be a factor in what looks like a close race between the frontrunners that will use ranked-choice voting.
Tonight’s debate comes with less than two weeks until Election Day, and after more than 278,000 Maine voters have already returned their ballots, according to state data. Expect the candidates to again clash on key issues, such as coronavirus relief and the Supreme Court, though there have not been any surprising developments on either front since the Maine Public debate a week ago. The Senate is expected to advance U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination this morning, while negotiations over a stimulus bill continue.
Political junkies can have an evening full of debates. The U.S. Senate debate will be followed by an 8 p.m. 2nd Congressional District debate hosted by Maine Public, streaming online and on TV and radio, and a 9 p.m. presidential debate moderated by NBC News’ Kristen Welker.
The Maine politics top 3
— “Trump again pushes trade and economy in Maine as coronavirus dominates race with Biden,” Jessica Piper, Bangor Daily News: “The president has given Maine significant attention this year, making an official visit in June after visiting the state five times in 2016. Vice President Mike Pence headlined a rally in Hermon earlier this week and two of Trump’s sons have recently campaigned here. Those visits have been a chance to highlight official Trump actions aimed at Maine that Biden surrogates have largely dismissed. But these policies and pledges have not had time to take full effect while the pandemic dominates the landscape.”
Trump’s national security adviser visited Maine to discuss the Navy’s expansion goals and make an announcement about ships built in Bath. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien stuck to defense policy during his visits to Bath Iron Works and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, where he touted the administration’s goal of upping the Navy’s fleet from 296 to 355 ships. Defense publications took note of his announcement in Kittery that all Arleigh Burke-class destroyers — the primary one built at BIW — will be outfitted with hypersonic missiles that fly faster than the speed of sound.
— “Maine secretary of state floats crackdown on confusing ‘blizzard’ of absentee ballot mailers,” Caitlin Andrews, BDN: “The deluge is caused by national third-party groups whose intentions may be honorable — making sure people have every opportunity to vote — but many mailers contain inaccurate information that could affect the ability to cast a ballot or slow the process down. They are also prompting people to send multiple requests for ballots, leading to more work for local clerks.”
— “Old votes on guns, taxes dominate 2nd debate between Jared Golden, Dale Crafts,” Andrews, BDN: “U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a freshman Democrat, and former state Rep. Dale Crafts, R-Lisbon, broke little ground on topics such as health care and federal coronavirus relief that have been top ones in a relatively sedate race that Golden has led handily this year after narrowly beating a Republican incumbent in the most expensive race in state history to that point.”
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Caitlin Andrews and Jessica Piper. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email email@example.com (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.