The Political Grind

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Calling all signatures

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap recently reminded all candidates for county, state and federal offices seeking party nominations in the June 8 primary to file their papers with his office by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 15.

State law requires candidates to gather a certain number of signatures, depending on the office they are seeking, from members of their political party in the district they wish to represent; the signatures must be verified by the respective town clerks and notarized before they are turned in to the state, according to a release from Dunlap’s office.

Candidates running for county commissioner need at least 50 signatures; state representative, 25; state senator, 100; U.S. Congress representative, 1,000; and gubernatorial candidates need 2,000 signatures.

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“The reason why we sent out the press release was because only one gubernatorial candidate had turned in his signatures,” said Dunlap on Friday. He said Paul LePage, a Republican candidate for governor, was the early bird.

Unenrolled candidates have until June 1 to submit their signatures, according to the release.

For more information on qualifications for running, visit www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec.

Rangel funds

Earlier this week news broke that veteran federal lawmaker U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, was admonished by the House ethics committee for breaking rules by accepting corporate-financed travel.

The campaign for Jason Levesque, the Auburn Republican seeking to unseat 2nd District Congressman Mike Michaud, a Democrat, quickly fired off a news release calling on Michaud to return campaign funds provided by Rangel.

Michaud’s congressional office, meanwhile, sent out a release calling the ethics panel findings “significant” and said Rangel did the “right thing” in stepping down from his chairmanship.

“I joined a number of my colleagues in alerting House leaders that I would vote in favor of a resolution removing him from his chairmanship pending the full completion of the Ethics Committee investigation,” said Michaud in the release.

Many Democrats who have received funding from Rangel have decided to donate it to charity and nationally Republicans have been pressing them to do just that.

Greg Olson of Michaud’s campaign said on Friday that Rangel hadn’t contributed any funds to Michaud recently and that anything received in the past had already been spent.

“(Rangel’s) done the right thing by stepping down from his chairmanship from the committee and I think congressional Democrats have done all they can do. It’s up to the people of his district to decide what to do now,” Olson said.

National Journal rankings

It’s likely no surprise to Mainers, but U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe was ranked as the most liberal Senate Republican in the recently released annual National Journal voter ratings. Maine’s junior senator, Susan Collins, was listed as the third most liberal Republican in the U.S. Senate.

Snowe was the only Republican to be considered more liberal than a Democrat. According to the National Journal chart, her voting record placed her to the left of Democratic Sens. Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Evan Bayh of Indiana.

The rankings rely on using key votes to calculate how often members vote with their own parties.

On the U.S. House side, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat representing Maine’s 2nd District, was listed as the 184th most liberal representative, out of the 435-member House. First-term

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine’s 1st District, was ranked as the 75th most liberal member of the House.

For more information, visit www.nationaljournal.com/2009voteratings.

– Rebekah Metzler

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