Good morning from Augusta.
What we’re watching today
Republicans’ top recruit will run for an open Maine Senate seat and Democrats have a nomination fight on their hands. The place to be this spring in Maine politics will be Hancock County. After the Tuesday resignation of Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, set up a spring special election ahead of another November race, the candidate slate is coming into focus.
Former Sen. Brian Langley, R-Ellsworth, who held the seat for four terms before Luchini, will run for the sixth time in just over a decade, Senate Republicans said on Thursday night. Two Democratic lawmakers — Reps. Genevieve McDonald of Stonington and Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor — have also announced plans to run in an upcoming nominating caucus.
More Democratic candidates could emerge, said Lily Herrmann, executive director of the Maine Senate Democratic Campaign Committee. The Democratic campaign arm will not get behind any candidate until a nominee is picked, she said. That will not happen until Gov. Janet Mills set a special election date and the caucuses are scheduled.
Langley, a more moderate Republican, would give his party a formidable candidate from the core of the district. The Democratic candidates will be relatively fresh faces in the Ellsworth area, although Augusta’s majority party has made strides in the area in recent years. Both will go all-in to snatch up momentum ahead of the pivotal November election.
What we’re reading
— The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council is not complying with a Maine Ethics Commission investigation into whether giving Republican lawmakers access to software constitutes illegal campaign contributions. Commissioners will discuss next steps, including potential subpoenas, at a 9 a.m. meeting next week.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the timing of this meeting.
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has blessed a bipartisan effort led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, that would overhaul the Electoral College count after supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol during that process on Jan. 6, 2021. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, is also drafting a bill on the topic.
— Collins was “surprised” by a CIA finding that ruled out foreign involvement in nearly all “Havana Syndrome” cases that the agency has investigated so far, saying it was “difficult to reconcile the findings of the expert task force at the CIA with other evidence and testimony.” She sponsored a bill signed into law by President Joe Biden to improve care for victims.
Follow along today
— 11 a.m. Maine corrections officials will brief the criminal justice committee on the controversial Long Creek Youth Development Center. Watch here.
— 1 p.m. A long-awaited report from the Legislature’s watchdog office on whether the child protective system is effectively overseen by the state will be presented to the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. Watch here.
The Daily Brief is written by Bangor Daily News politics editor Michael Shepherd and made possible by BDN subscribers. Enjoy unlimited access to all we have to offer by subscribing.
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