Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: Meet the new boss

Al Diamon

Based on an extensive survey of the Maine electorate that I haven’t bothered to conduct, I can report with extreme confidence that the state’s next governor will be one of those nearly indistinguishable blobs seeking the Republican nomination.

To understand why the GOP is going to hold onto the Blaine House in the November election, it’s necessary to examine several factors, starting with the impact ranked-choice voting will have on the outcome. While that confusing form of selecting a winner won’t be used in the general election, due to the fact that it’s unconstitutional, it will be in force for the primaries, because nobody cares whether those elections are constitutional or not.

Actually, ranked-choice won’t be much of a factor in the Republican primary, where the five candidates all hold the same conservative positions on every issue, except that former commissioner of health and human services Mary Mayhew is a woman, and unsuccessful 2010 independent gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody is a fire-extinguisher-equipped robot controlled by a weird political consultant. They’re all clones of current Gov. Paul LePage, only with upgraded interpersonal communications skills, except Mayhew, who’s just as unpleasant as the incumbent, and Moody, who’s a dolt. Any of these hopefuls could be the second choice of the right-wing supporters of all the others.

Experienced politicians such as Senate President Michael Thibodeau, Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette would be sensible choices for the GOP nomination. But we’re talking about voters who backed Ted Cruz in the caucuses two years ago and Donald Trump in the general election, so sensible isn’t a major factor in their decision-making process. Unless ranked-choice inadvertently thwarts Republicans’ baser instincts, expect Mayhew or Moody to be the party’s standard-bearer.

On the Democratic side, Attorney General Janet Mills is the perceived frontrunner. I’m not sure who’s doing this perceiving, but that person has missed a major flaw in Mills’ candidacy: She’s nobody’s second choice.

Mills is a polarizing candidate who’s alienated a significant portion of the Dem left wing by opposing water rights for Maine’s Indian tribes, pointing out that ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional and hinting that passing a ban on so-called assault weapons is probably unenforceable. As a result, party radicals see her as too conservative (what normal people would call moderate). She still might win the first round of primary voting, but once ranked-choice kicks in, she’s roadkill.

Adam Cote, a lawyer who talks way more than necessary about his military service, is as middle-of-the-road as Mills, but has less baggage because he’s never held elected office. Also, he has a less abrasive personality. He’ll get some second-place votes, but not enough.
Betsy Sweet is sufficiently liberal for the socialist set, but she’s spent her whole career as a lobbyist, lacks name recognition and has a weak campaign organization. Third-choice votes aren’t going to help her much.

State Sen. Mark Dion has supporters in Portland – and not much of anywhere else. He finishes just a notch above the also-rans, a nameless assortment of folks who really need to reassess what they’re doing with their worthless lives.

That leaves the Democratic nomination to former Speaker of the House Mark Eves, unvaryingly liberal, blandly inoffensive (except to LePage) and inspiring in no sense of the word. Still, in a confrontation with Mayhew/Moody, he might prevail. Except the actual matchup on the fall ballot will be more complicated than that.

Two independents are also running for governor. State Treasurer Terry Hayes and political consultant Alan Caron, both former Democrats, are campaigning as voices of moderation. If they were one person, that might not be a bad strategy, since there are likely to be lots of voters turned off by the extreme stands of Eves on the left and Mayhew/Moody on the right. But Hayes and Caron are two people, and, as such, they’re going to split the 30 percent of the vote they could potentially attract, leaving both of them far behind the major party nominees.
They aren’t contenders. They’re spoilers.

If past practice is any indication (looking at you, Eliot Cutler), two of every three votes the independents receive will come from people who would otherwise have supported the Democrat. That should be enough to tilt the final tally to the Republican.

Come the dawn of the day after election day, it’ll be the Mayhew/Moody composite spraying victory champagne all over the best laid plans of the Democratic Party.

Save this column so you can email me at in November to point out how wrong I was.

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16 Responses »

  1. Anyone who is the opposite of LePage's stinginess and dictatoring behavior will get my vote

  2. Janet backed Hillary against Venezuela Bernie. The socialist faction will find that hard to forgive. And some of her opponents have noticed her favorable NRA rating in a previous election---not a problem in Franklin County. Big problem in Portland.

  3. It's not my place to do this, but someone should tell Frumpleton that "dictator" is not a verb and a willingness to give away other people's money is not generosity.

  4. It’s pretty sad when you start voting by who you think will do the least harm...

  5. JF= Russian social media bot trying to disrupt and influence local elections. Sad.

  6. I'll take Bernie over Moscow Don any old day.

  7. DT
    March 12, 2018 • 7:23 pm
    JF= Russian social media bot trying to disrupt and influence local elections. Sad.

    Bot= An Internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet.

    Even you Slammo, errr...I mean DT, even you don’t believe Mr Frary is a you? I think your looking for agent provocateur = agent provocateur (French for " inciting agent") is a person who commits, or who acts to entice another person...or perhaps you meant a sockpuppet = A sockpuppet is an online identity used for purposes of deception. The term, a reference to the manipulation of a simple hand puppet made from a sock, of course that would fit your own MO too much wouldn’t it?

    The only groups and people proven to use or have used agent provocateurs is the DNC and a few various agencies within the US fed government. There are many groups, company’s, govt agencies and individuals whom employ sock puppets. There are even paying gigs available

  8. Exactly, Pure or Umm...or do you prefer JF? Sad, it's just sad that JF or Pure are taking orders from the Russian bots to spread negative thoughts and strategically angled lies. Why don't you talk about yourself more? Sad sock puppets.

  9. DT
    March 13, 2018 • 12:17 pm
    Exactly, Pure or Umm...or do you prefer JF? Sad, it's just sad that JF or Pure are taking orders from the Russian bots to spread negative thoughts and strategically angled lies. Why don't you talk about yourself more? Sad sock puppets

    Well lucky for us, each of your personas can call out “fake news” or “Russian propaganda” for those of us who aren’t nearly as smart as yourself. The national enquirer has been around a long time, people Can research and see things much clearer than ever before. Do you guys at the DNC ever talk about Seth Rich?

    I don’t know Mr Frary and I mean no offense to him but I am a bit offended that you would insinuate I’m as old as he is! Lol

  10. Is this some kind of code your using? Don't you people know regular words?

  11. I don't care if I'm not as well enlightened as you are, Mr. Frary. But I think you are looking at life with blinders on. And who do you think helped you when you were young? Even poor people did by paying sales taxes. If they could afford a home and could get a decent job, their lives would be better. But all that matters to LePage and I guess to you is all about money and nothing about people. LePage had not created good paying jobs. I say, "good" ones. The kind where people like you can go get a loan for a home. By the time hard workers pay their bills, take care of the kids and still pay their taxes, they can't come up with a down payment for a home very well. Some people had their family give them land for a beginning. Or a home, even, or money. They are the fortunate ones. This governor does not respect Maine voters. If he did, he would go by their wishes and allow medicaid expansion. Instead, it's all about money and votes and that is darned right despicable!

  12. Since LePage is leaving the state in a MUCH better condition than his predecessor, any of the "blobs" will get my vote. The party of self-delusion and hysteria can sit on the sidelines, thanks.

  13. Frumpleton, Where is it written that people who can work, shouldn't? Where is it written that people are entitled to programs that they are not entitled to. People work, and pay into a system to aid them when they can no longer work. Medicaid for disabled people who can't work, and Social Security and medicare, when working people get to the age where they can't work. If you have been working for 40 odd years and don't own your own home, you and your life style are the problem. I owned my own home before I was 25. I went without a lot, gladly and happily to get my home paid off. But it was done, and nobody can take it. I will always have a home. Now I am in my 40's and work to buy the stuff I want, because I already own the things I need. Graduate, job, house, spouse and kids, in that order.

  14. it's not my place to do this, but somebody should tell mr. frary is not quite as clever as he thinks he is.

  15. In my opinion I believe that LePage has done a great job helping the state of Maine, this is why he was elected 2 terms. No, I don't believe he was justified to say some of the things that he said, but actions speak louder than words. @Hrtlss Bstrd, I have to agree here. I work for what I need and those bills take priority, then I buy what I want if I have the extra to spend, if not I go without. That is the way adulting works. My husband and I work our tails off to support our family, but that is what you have to do to survive these days. With two young children things can get tight, but that is how life works. I do this all without a hand out from the government and I even have to pay for my own insurance. Do you hear me complaining and blaming the governor or president? No! The amount of money I pay for health insurance is mind blowing and I don't cry about not being eligible for medicare. Didn't the people of Maine vote on Medicare Expansion and voted it down?

  16. AM: The people of Maine overwhelmingly voted FOR it.