After LePage weathers USM protest, thoughts turn to his successor

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. Tonight Maine’s former U.S. attorney who was dumped by Trump opens up; LePage says ‘All lives matter’; and we have another official gubernatorial candidate.

What we’re talking about

Blaine House watch, 2018 — BDN political tag team Chris Cousins and Michael Shepherd today broke the news of Democrat Adam Cote jumping into the 2018 gubernatorial race. They report:

Cote, a 44-year-old Sanford attorney and Army veteran, has been out of politics since he finished second in the 2008 primary in Maine’s 1st U.S. House District. The seat was won by Chellie Pingree, who still holds it.

But Cote impressed as a moderate in the field, raising more than $650,000 and beating former legislators Michael Brennan and Ethan Strimling, who have since been Portland mayor….

“I have not spent much time in Augusta but I have learned leadership through 20 years as a soldier in places like Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and 16 years in the private sector as both a small businessman and a renewable energy attorney,” he said in a statement.

‘All lives matter,’ LePage tells protesters at USM — The governor camly weathered a torrent of disruptions during a student-organized town hall at the University of Southern Maine’s Portland campus Tuesday evening. It was LePage’s first public forum in Maine’s largest city since a tense 2015 town hall, and he mostly refused to be baited by accusations of racism, which have stung him in the past, provoking comments that spiraled into national controversy. LePage’s strongest response to the tide of interruptions and chants of “Black lives matter,” was to tell protesters, “I would say this: All lives matter. All lives matter.”

The long, strange trip of Maine’s former U.S. attorney  — A lot has changed since Thomas E. Delahanty II first became Maine’s U.S. attorney in 1980. But a lot was also the same when Delahanty was removed from office in early March by President Donald Trump. The feds are still going after drugs, Delahanty told BDN legal maven Judy Harrison, but instead of tons of marijuana smuggled into coastal coves it’s heroin and other opiates that last year killed more than a person a day on average. “When I started, possession of marijuana, no matter the amount, was a felony,” Delahanty, 71, said recently. “Now it’s legal. The public attitude toward drugs like that has changed dramatically.”

More restaurants. Yes, more. — New Thai, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese, Japanese and, American joints are set to open this season in Portland’s already packed restaurant market, the Press Herald’s Meredith Goad reports. Many of the new restaurants will feature family-style dining.

Get on your bikes and ride — Find a new set of wheels at the 2017 Great Maine Bike Swap this Sunday at USM’s Sullivan Gym in Portland. The floor is always packed with hybrids, road bikes, mountain bikes, children’s bikes and even those funky recumbents. Five bucks gets you through the doors and you can even sell your old bike, too. — Troy R. Bennett

Sounds of South Sudan on Mayo Street — Portland’s own South Sudanese native recording artist, African Dundada, performs Saturday night at Mayo Street Arts to benefit Mayo Street’s youth programs, the ACLU of Maine, Action Against Hunger, and the South Sudan Care organization. Joining Dundada is Mr. Lumemo, Dequhn Lobutua and the The Acholi Traditional Dancers. Come for the party, stay for the social justice. — Troy R. Bennett

Portland’s indomitable snow pile — We may have had a brief, glorious moment of summery weather over the weekend, but the Forecaster’s David Harry assures us that black mountain left over from Portland’s 95 inches of snowfall is holding strong. Check out his crazy photo of the two-story pile out on West Commercial street.

Tweet of the day

From Wall Street Journal sports columnist Jason Gay:

The Big Idea

What $1,000 gets you outside of Portland’s housing market — We can’t vouch for its scientific rigor, but Buzzfeed’s guide to what you can rent with $1,000 in all 50 states has us thinking of moving to Charleston, South Carolina.

Got any interesting story ideas, suggestions or links to share? Email Jake Bleiberg at, or tweet @JZBleiberg.

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