Wednesday, June 11, 2008

And now, On to November!

At last the day is behind us. Primary Election Day, that is. And we have clear winners. Charlie Summers is the Republican nominee and he will face Democrat Chellie Pingree in the November elections for the U.S. First District House of Representatives seat being vacated by Tom Allen.

Allen easily won his bid for the Democrat nomination to face incumbent Republican Susan Collins for her U.S. Senate seat in November.

I don’t think either House race had a surprise ending. Pingree had by far, in my humble opinion, the best produced advertisements on television. Although I don’t agree with her stand and believe like she did when in the Maine Legislature will attempt to lead us to more health care economic disaster, she avoided negativism and stuck to the issues as she sees them. The First District is a liberal district and her top opponent, Adam Cote, a former Republican, was probably too conservative for the district.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Portland legislator Ethan Strimling’s relatively poor showing, tying for third place with only 11 percent of the vote. I’m happy I got that surprise.

I think I was mildly surprised at the margin of victory by Charlie Summers over Dean Scontras for the Republican nomination to face Pingree. Summers has been active in Maine politics for several years and his name recognition alone gave him the edge going into yesterday’s voting. Scontras, a political newcomer, billed himself as a Reagan Conservative; but, as I said earlier, the First District is liberal and Scontras simply didn’t resonate with his message.

I dedicated one of these posts a couple of weeks ago on the tone of the Republican campaign. At that time I pleaded that the candidates needed to focus on what they themselves would do for Maine and not what they said the other would do. That, incidentally, is basically how Pingree conducted her Democrat campaign. I found it difficult to get excited about either of the Republicans. I will support the winner, Summers, in November.

If I had any surprise at the Republican outcome, it was the margin. Summers’ win wasn’t a surprise, but his 20% margin was, at least to me.

The state’s voters once again showed they don’t mind our high taxes. They approved yet another transportation bond issue, most of which is to fix the roads. They passed a similar bond last year and again last November. All three focused on fixing the roads and bridges. After last year did we have better roads? After November? What makes us think we will this time? I don’t think people realize that bonds have to be repaid with taxes. If all the transportation money went to what the state said it would go to and if we did see improvements in the transportation infrastructure, I’d have more acceptance to the bonds.

And, golly, were the petitioners out in force! I can’t remember ever having to walk through such a gauntlet of people seeking to have petitions signed for a plethora of issues. Now don’t get me wrong. I didn’t run into a single negative person in that gauntlet. All the petitioners at my polling place were polite, non-confrontational, and ready and willing to answer any questions about their respective petition.

The People’s Veto of taxes on beverages and insurance people were there. I signed that one. There was one called “New Tabor” which I don’t recall ever hearing about before yesterday. The People’s Veto of the drivers’ license/real I.D. law was there. There were petitions against gay marriage, the school consolidation law or at least portions of it, more affordable health care (who doesn’t want more affordable health care?), and a cut in excise taxes. Seems to me there a couple others, too, but I recall not what they may have been.

Again, let me say, the closest thing to any confrontation I had was petitioners asking if I’d like to sign their petition. More often than not, I’d respond with a question about what the petition was for and got informative, polite answers. I got a “Thank you” and a hand shake if I signed and a “Thanks for listening” when I declined.

So now it’s on to November. The contest will be in full swing (Isn’t it already??) way too soon. I still remember when the elections were between Labor Day and the Second Tuesday in November. I think I still yearn a little for those “good old days.”


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