Baldacci volunteers can see Clinton at lower rate

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Gov. John Baldacci’s re-election campaign is offering volunteers a way to see former President Bill Clinton without paying the full ticket price.

Clinton will be in Maine on June 5 for a South Portland fundraiser for Baldacci. Volunteers who work on the campaign’s phone banks will get $100 off the ticket price for every night they work. Tickets are regularly $500.

During an event in October, Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., attended a Maine fundraiser for Baldacci and the state Democratic Party. Tickets for that event were also $500.

Endorsements begin

Baldacci scored two union endorsements last week, both coming before Republican voters have even had a chance to select a candidate to challenge the incumbent Democrat.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6 announced its endorsement of Baldacci on May 18. The Maine State Employees Association, the Service Employees International Union Local 1989, followed suit on Friday.

State Sens. Peter Mills, R-Skowhegan, Chandler Woodcock, R-Farmington, and former U.S. Rep. Dave Emery are vying for the GOP nod to challenge Baldacci.

Green Independent Pat LaMarche and Independent Barbara Merrill have also qualified for the gubernatorial ballot.

Debates on the tube

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The Maine Public Broadcasting Network has scheduled a series of candidate debates, which will begin at 8 p.m. on May 25. Democratic senatorial hopefuls Jean Hay Bright and Eric Mehnert will answer questions from MPBN’s Fred Bever.

The winner of the primary will challenge incumbent Republican Olympia Snowe. The debate will be rebroadcast on MPBN radio at 1 p.m. on May 26.

The Republican candidates for governor will take their turn at 8 p.m. on June 1. Their debate will be played on radio at 1 p.m. on June 2.

And at 8:30 p.m. on June 2, incumbent Baldacci will debate longshot Democratic challenger Christopher Miller. The radio rebroadcast will be at 1 p.m. on June 5.

Paying the mortgage

If you get your jollies pouring through campaign finance reports, you might have noticed something a bit unusual in the April filing from the Maine Democratic State Party.

Under loans and loan repayments, Democrats listed a $230,000 note from Gardiner Savings Institute. At first blush, it looked like the party might be trying to build up its war chest for a tough campaign season.

Turns out, the loan is for the party’s mortgage on its 16 Winthrop St. headquarters in Augusta.

In past filings, mortgage payments were listed under expenses. Now, they’re put under the loans heading, according to Ardent Manning, a party spokesman.

The Democrats moved into the office in May 2005.

– David Farmer

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