The Gaggie Awards are back.
Not by popular demand. (But that's never stopped state Representative John Martin.)
Not out of a misguided sense of public obligation. (Like a Republican candidate running on the Portland peninsula.)
No, the Gaggies are back mostly because this column has to be written before the polls close, so we're forced to rely on haphazard insults. (It's the same method independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler uses to organize his press conferences.)
The Gaggie Awards are named for Hayes Gahagan, whose 1978 independent candidacy for the US Senate was memorable for his announcement that nefarious forces had somehow planted subliminal images in his campaign photos, including genitalia in his hairline. More recently, Gahagan has served on the Republican State Committee.
This was an unusual election year. A few well-known politicians could've swept every award category. Without intervention from the rules committee, Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage (My $?!@ Press Secretary Will Explain What I %#@! Meant Award), Democratic US Representative Chellie Pingree (The Rich Are Different And I Want To Be Different Like Them Award), and independent candidate for governor Kevin Scott (First Space Alien To Qualify For The Maine Ballot Award) would have sucked up all the trophies. Instead, they each get a coupon redeemable for 10 percent off on psychiatric counseling.
Now to the winners.
The Two-Faced Plaque For Agreeing With All The Voters All The Time goes to GOP state Senate candidate Tom Saviello of Wilton for a column published October 13 in the Original Irregular in which he explained why he voted against a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the Legislature to 115 House members and 31 senators. "The greatest concern in Augusta is that Maine's rural voice is being lost," he said. "Call it Two Maines. Call it urban vs. rural ... but our voice is being dampened by the larger populated areas."
In the next paragraph, Saviello said he'd have no problem supporting a measure to cut the House down to 100 members and the Senate to 16.
The Laurel Wreath Signifying Remarkable Detachment From Reality is presented to Democratic state House candidate and self-described "artist-politician" Anna Mather of East Machias for her answer to a question about the state budget crisis. According to the Downeast Coastal Press, Mather said, "I do believe the budget is the governor's responsibility for one thing. And it is definitely not something that I have done a lot of studying about, so I don't have a specific answer in regards to that. I'm really not there."
I'm on Kevin Scott's planet.
Speaking of Scott, his erstwhile campaign manager, Michael Pajak, earned the I Have The Courage Of My Convictions As Long As I Don't Have To Use My Real Name Award. According to the blog asmainegoeslolz.com, Pajak has been posting anti-gay and anti-Muslim comments on the As Maine Goes Web site under the pseudonym "The Distributist" (sample: "Existing information could lead one to conclude that homosexual behavior is to genetics what islam [sic] is to religion"). Asked about his homophobia and religious intolerance, Pajak refused to answer, saying he was being questioned about a "fictional character."
Sort of like the lynch mob in To Kill A Mockingbird.