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Paul LePage, geared up in recent months to protect fiscally conservative policies he favored. Paul LePage has geared up in recent months to protect fiscally conservative policies he favored. It is rallying opposition to a proposed carbon tax, criticizing Democratic Gov. LePage’s push to influence state politics even as he lives in Florida is an unusual move for a former governor. But his spokespeople say the governor, who has threatened to run against Mills in 2020 and wants to launch a “conservative mouthpiece” for Mainers, is concerned about state’s future. LePage was named the group’s honorary chairman. The newspaper’s review of tax filings show the group raised $1.1 million before fundraising halted after 2015. It paid out nearly $100,000 combined to the former governor’s daughter, Lauren LePage, and top political adviser, Brent Littlefield, in 2016 and 2017. The conservative-leaning group does not name its donors under IRS rules governing what are often called “social welfare nonprofits,” which can advocate for issues and raise unlimited amounts of money. Rabinowitz said Maine People Before Politics will file amended forms with the IRS to disclose more information about the group’s activities.
Maine voters again endorsed ranked-choice voting, passing a ballot question that keeps alive the first-in-the-nation election system. With a majority of key precincts reporting, the “yes” vote held a solid lead with 55 percent of the total vote. Ranked-choice voting has been on a roller coaster ever since being enacted by referendum in November 2016. Opposition was fueled in May 2017 when an advisory opinion from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said the system was partially unconstitutional because of language in the Maine Constitution that calls for general elections in Maine to be decided by pluralities. A federal lawsuit by the Maine Republican Party to bar ranked-choice voting to be used in its nominating elections failed in late May. But proponents’ suggestions that it would lead to more civil campaigning fizzled amid a flurry of late negative campaigning and candidates’ strategic maneuvering to push front-runners down their supporters’ ranked-choice ballots. “It’s a more truthful way of making choices in an election. With it, you can start to look at each candidate a little more honestly, and select the most viable options.” “It makes for more of an honest discussion about the actual qualities of a candidate,” Maiorana added, “instead of playing the game” of voting merely to support the most likely winner. Susan De La Rosa of Lewiston said she definitely liked experiencing ranked-choice voting in this election. For a roundup of Maine political news, click here for the Daily Brief.