Former Gov. Paul LePage (left) and Gov. Janet Mills. Credit: BDN composite photo

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QUOTE OF THE DAY: “My husband and I strive for a simple life, but this money will give us peace of mind in our retirement and allow us to make repairs to our house and travel to visit our children and our grandbaby on the way,” said Kay Spofford of Winslow, who won nearly $900,000 in Maine’s vaccination lottery this weekend. “I encourage everyone in Maine to get vaccinated to keep themselves and others safe and to help Maine continue leading the fight against COVID-19.” Here’s your soundtrack.

What we’re watching today

You should expect a low-key campaign between the current and former governors through the fall. After he filed for the race last week, a countdown clock on former Gov. Paul LePage’s campaign website struck zero on Monday, though it only signified an email, social media and fundraising blitz to kick off his run against Gov. Janet Mills. The current governor also fundraised on the announcement, with an email to supporters headlined “Paul LePage just announced he’s running against Janet!”

That is what the campaign between LePage and Mills should look like this summer. Both have so far eschewed kickoff rallies in a campaign that has been in the making since late 2018, when the former Republican governor was teasing a run against the Democrat before she even assumed the Blaine House. An email from LePage to supporters said he plans a fall rally.

As he plotted his run, LePage was making quiet trips around the state, speaking at party events and visiting businesses. Conservative radio host Mike Violette said Tuesday on his air that LePage’s team has rebuffed appearances on his typical medium of choice until the fall. If you happen to see the former governor this summer, it will probably be on short notice.

Mills has been raising money in earnest since the beginning of the year. Her first campaign finance filing in six months will be released in mid-July, giving us an idea of her head start on LePage ahead of their respective campaign kickoffs.

Could another announcement shake up the race? Former state Sen. Tom Saviello, a prominent opponent of the Central Maine Power corridor, is planning his own Wednesday announcement as he has teased an independent run against the pro-corridor LePage and Mills. Any run would change the political calculus around the race going into the summer, though the path for an independent at the outset of any campaign is a hard one.

The Maine politics top 3

— “Maine children’s killings followed years of investment in state child welfare system,” Lia Russell, Bangor Daily News: “State lawmakers have approved funding on three occasions to hire more child welfare caseworkers, supervisors and case aides since the killings of 4-year-old Kendall Chick and 10-year-old Marissa Kennedy more than three years ago focused fresh scrutiny on Maine’s child welfare system. They’ve approved measures to bolster their pay, and staff turnover has been trending downward.”

Another survey of child welfare and other frontline workers is planned as the Legislature’s watchdog panel continues to review the system. The effort is a follow-up to a 2018 survey where child welfare workers reported that the demands of the work could often not be accomplished in a 40-hour work week and expressed concerns about the lack of adequate placements for children who needed to be removed from the home. The state added 33 positions following that survey, but would still need another 42 employees to handle the number of children in its care, a report earlier this year found.

— “In Maine’s ‘City of Ships,’ climate change’s coastal threat is already here,” Lori Valigra, BDN, and John Upton, Climate Central: “Floods also expose critical infrastructure. A new Climate Central analysis showed roughly a quarter of the Bath Iron Works site currently faces frequent flood risks, and those risks are projected to spread to affect two-thirds of the site by 2050. The shipyard is Maine’s fourth-largest private employer and one of two U.S. contractors that build Arleigh Burke-class destroyers for the Navy.”

— “Janet Mills stalls progressive priorities as race with Paul LePage kicks off,” Jessica Piper, BDN: “Progressives were “disappointed” by her vetoes, viewing them as a wasted opportunity to pass ambitious legislation with a trifecta in Augusta, said Betsy Sweet, a progressive lobbyist who finished in third place behind Mills in the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary. But she also noted Mills’ COVID-19 response and proposals to increase child care funding as positives.”

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, you can sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning here.

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 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...