Put it on the calendar.

The state Senate will reconvene Sept. 11 to consider nominations from the governor, including the one to fill the vacant seat on the state’s ethics commission.

Bangor lawyer Michael P. Friedman has been nominated for the post.

Friedman is the managing partner at Rudman & Winchell and specializes in labor law.

Because the commission’s membership includes two Democrats and two Republicans, the fifth spot must be filled by a member of a third party or by an independent. Friedman is unenrolled.

Independent gubernatorial candidate John Michael brought attention to the vacancy on the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. Michael did not want his appeal of a decision denying him public financing for his campaign to be considered until a fifth member was appointed to the board.

While a date for the Senate to reconvene is before the November election, Michael won’t have much time left even if he is granted as much as $1.2 million of public financing for his campaign.

The Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee will consider the ethics nomination on Aug. 29.

Debt remains

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Emery, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, is working to clear his campaign books of debt.

Of the three Republican candidates in the primary, Emery is the only one who relied on private contributions to fund his run. State Sen. Chandler Woodcock, the eventual nominee, and state Sen. Peter Mills both qualified for public financing for their campaigns and received $200,000 for the primary.

In campaign finance disclosure forms filed in July, Emery reported unpaid debts of $24,592, down from more than $56,000 he reported owing in a report filed before the June 13 primary.

Emery also reported paying back $525 of a loan of $15,000 that he had made to his own campaign.

It’s notoriously hard for defeated candidates to raise money to settle old debts. Emery reported raising $5,399.39 after the primary for the period ending July 18.


U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe’s two opponents in November are taking heart from the results of the Democratic primary in Connecticut.

In that race, upstart politician and businessman Ned Lamont defeated three-term U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman. Much of the race hinged on Lieberman’s support for President George Bush and his policies in Iraq.

Democrat Jean Hay Bright and independent William Slavick, who are both challenging Snowe as anti-war candidates, say the defeat points to a new day in American politics and could be the beginning of the end for Snowe.

“The phone started ringing early this morning (Aug. 9, 2006) with people enthusiastic about what yesterday’s Democratic primary vote in Connecticut portends for Maine this fall. The callers agreed with me that as bad as Sen. Lieberman is on his support of this immoral and unjust war, Olympia Snowe is worse – much worse,” Hay Bright wrote on her Web site.

Slavick sounded a similar theme.

“Given that the voters in Maine are at least as smart as those in Connecticut and that Olympia Snowe’s and Joe Lieberman’s preoccupation with being moderate and centrist have made them both primarily servants of the military-industrial complex, corporate power, and greed … Lieberman’s primary defeat Tuesday should be a cue to Mainers,” Slavick wrote in a statement released Aug. 9.

Maybe. But don’t bet on it.

Lamont was a relative newcomer to statewide politics when he entered the race, but he brought something neither Hay Bright nor Slavick have so far been able to muster – money. According to Reuters, he spent more than $3 million of his own money in the primary.

And Snowe is no Joe Lieberman in Maine. Her support remains high, even for an incumbent. In poll conducted in July, 68 percent of respondents said they would vote for Snowe, 10 percent said they supported Hay Bright and 4 percent Slavick. Eighteen percent said they were undecided.

Joementum failed in Connecticut, but that doesn’t mean an end to Snowementum in Maine.

Building a base

State Rep. Darlene Curley, R-Scarborough, has picked up the endorsement of the Maine chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors in her challenge to U.S. Rep. Tom Allen in the 1st Congressional District.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national association representing 23,000 merit-shop construction and construction-related firms in 79 chapters across the United States.

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