Freedom Studies - Post Primary Musings

 

Jon Reisman

I helped man the polls in Cooper on Election Day. Turnout was light, which meant that vote tallying was done shortly after 9 p.m. The 12-hour day and the Republican primary results left me with a mild case of post-primary analysis paralysis, but, by Friday, some of the fog cleared a bit. Besides, what would late spring and June Downeast be without a healthy dose of fog? Apparently, climate change has not changed that yet, but I am sure the alarmists are working on it. With the primary behind us, political emissions may temporarily decline, but Maine and especially the 2nd CD are going to see a lot of hot air.

Theriault cruises

The nasty 2nd CD GOP primary between Austin Theriault and Mike Soboleski ended with a lopsided Theriault victory. The 30-year-old, Trump-endorsed, former NASCAR driver soundly defeated the 67-year-old former Marine. Soboleski was arguably the more conservative candidate (after all NASCAR drivers habitually turn the steering wheel leftwards), but the Trump endorsement and national swamp money propelled Theriault. 

Both Theriault and Soboleski are first term Representatives. Soboleski garnered more endorsements from his fellow legislators, so much so that his fellow western Maine Representative John Andrews resigned in protest after his constituents supported Theriault. Theriault has offered Soboleski something of an olive branch. I am hoping the Trump endorsement does not end as it did in Pennsylvania with Dr. Oz and (now Senator) Fetterman. A divided GOP is not likely to defeat Jared Golden. As someone once said, we will see what happens. 

Battleground Maine, 2nd CD?

It looks like Maine, and particularly the 2nd Congressional District, is going to be a battleground state. A typhoon of political spending is going to pour into Maine, affecting turnout and results in the Presidential, US Senate, and US House races, with potential spillover effects in the Maine legislature as well. Maine is something of a “cheap date” as far as media markets go.

The 2nd Congressional District voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 (after voting for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012). If polls are to be believed, Trump has a 10-15 point lead in the 2nd CD, which is almost perfectly balanced by a similar Biden lead in the 1st CD (Northern Massachusetts has consistently voted Democrat and for Chellie Pingree in the 21st century). The obvious GOP strategy is to stoke turnout in the 2nd District, while the Democrats will seek to do the same in southern Maine. The likely result will be a very polarized Maine, which will match the country.

The US Senate race between three Southern Mainers will likely be decided in the 2nd Congressional District as well. GOP nominee and Saco resident Demi Kouzounas will need a 2nd CD-centric campaign to prevail. 

It is sadly ironic that the left pushed Maine into joining the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (now subject to a Peoples Veto signature collection effort) to replace the electoral college while bemoaning the outsize influence of battleground states just as Maine becomes one.

Jon Reisman is an economist and policy analyst who retired from the University of Maine at Machias after 38 years. He resides on Cathance Lake in Cooper, where he is a Selectman and a Statler and Waldorf intern. Mr. Reisman’s views are his own, and he welcomes comments as letters to the editor here or to him directly via email at [email protected].

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