Politics & Other Mistakes: The hater’s guide to the 2018 primary election


The candidates who lose in next week’s primary election will have one thing in common: They’ll all deserve it. Either they ran bad campaigns or they’re bad people. Possibly both.

Too harsh? Tough. I’m tired of looking at the options on the ballot and finding nothing but wimps, liars and retreads.

Of course, it’s possible some of the 11 creatures running for the Republican and Democratic gubernatorial nominations or the three lifeforms seeking the Dem nod for the 2nd Congressional District seat are decent human beings. It’s also possible there’s intelligent life on Mars and professional bicycle racers who don’t cheat.

Many of these candidates aren’t really trying to win. They’re thinking, “Let me get a credible number of votes, so I can boost my name recognition, and run for something in the future when there isn’t so much competition.”

But for contenders like Democrats Adam Cote and Attorney General Janet Mills, who both have failed congressional bids on their resumes, this campaign is all or nothing. They either win or it’s over. Mills is the perceived front-runner, but being in front of this crowd is akin to being two steps ahead of a pack of zombies. Speaking of which, Mills hasn’t actually campaigned on the slogan “If You Liked Gov. John Baldacci, You’ll Love Gov. Janet Mills.” But she could.

Hardly anyone remembers Cote from his previous campaign for Congress (was that even this century?), and those who do voted for somebody else then, too. Cote is an expert on energy policy because he started an unsuccessful energy company. He hasn’t campaigned on the slogan “If You Thought Gov. John Baldacci Was Too Exciting, You’ll Love Gov. Adam Cote.” But he could.

Speaking of boring, former Speaker of the House Mark Eves, a Democrat, and outgoing House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, a Republican, both appear to be fading from sight even as they’re standing in front of us. Barring an emergency injection of fresh pixels, they’ll be too invisible to ever run for anything again.

GOP Senate floor leader Garrett (I’m against public campaign financing, but I’m using it anyway) Mason has been almost as hard to see, but that’s by design. Mason has been operating in the evangelical underground, energizing conservative Christians (and creeps like race-baiting state Rep. Larry Lockman). Mason’s idea of health-care policy is banning abortions and his concept of combating crime is arresting transgendered people using public restrooms. He figures the less the mainstream electorate knows about him, the better.

Republican candidate Mary Mayhew distinguished herself from the field by promising to be the same utterly unlikable incompetent she was when she ran the LePage administration’s Department of Health and Human Services. Her promise not to compromise on anything is the sort of bold initiative designed to appeal to people who have no idea how state government operates. Which pretty well describes Mayhew.

Democrat Betsy Sweet – lobbyist, activist and person with less name recognition than a Maine Mammoths second stringer – has been endorsed by Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, which is marginally better than being endorsed by Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro. Sweet’s ranked-choice strategy is to be everybody’s second pick. That’s the exact same plan Ted Cruz used.

I dealt with Republican gubernatorial candidate and amiable boob Shawn Moody in detail a couple of weeks ago. You probably have pieces of living-room furniture that know more about governing than he does. Should he get some credit for having good hair? No, he should not.

Other potential Democratic goobs: If you’ve heard of state Sen. Mark Dion, you must live in Cumberland County. Former state Rep. Diane Russell is best known for skeevy financial dealings involving her political action committee and campaign finance reports. Donna (no relation to Mark) Dion, former mayor of Biddeford, is on the ballot. I guess. I haven’t really checked.

The Democratic 2nd District congressional field is composed of state House Assistant Majority Leader Jared Golden, who’s set records for looking weirdly uncomfortable in campaign photographs; environmental activist Lucas St. Clair, who has a rich but wildly unpopular mom; and some other guy whose name I can’t recall. At least one of them may have said something inspiring, although there’s no record of that.

The winner gets to take on incumbent Republican Bruce (I don’t actually live around here) Poliquin, who should be easily beatable, but isn’t. So, it doesn’t much matter who his opponent is.

Oh, that third guy might be named Olson or Olsen. Jimmy, maybe.

Before emailing me at aldiamon@herniahill.net and asking who I’m voting for, know that I’m not enrolled in a party, so I don’t vote in primaries. Kinda thankful.