Looking back on 2010: Maine goes red

Republicans take over Augusta, Portland cops go online, gay rights stay center stage, and more!
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 22, 2010

feat_lookback_PortCover_mai

There were big wins, big defeats, encouraging signs, and disappointments. Here's a look at what Maine enjoyed — and endured — in 2010.


feat_lookback_PaulLePage_ma

Governor-elect Paul LePage

As the results rolled in on November 2, the crowd at Champions sports club in Waterville was antsy. Paul LePage's supporters hadn't anticipated the numbers to be so close — the prospect of their Republican candidate barely eking out a win, which is what happened in the wee hours of the next morning, was both unexpected and uncomfortably nerve-racking. After a surprise victory in the June primary, Tea Party-backed LePage led Democrat Libby Mitchell and independent Eliot Cutler in the polls through much of the summer and fall. But in the final days of the 2010 gubernatorial election, Cutler surged; rural Maine votes helped LePage end up on top, with 38 percent of the vote to Cutler's to 37 percent (Mitchell got 19 percent).

The Waterville mayor, who will resign that post before he's inaugurated on January 5, 2011, got to work assembling a transition team that includes big-name conservatives such as Tarren Bragdon of the Maine Heritage Policy Center; Ann Robinson, an attorney and former chair of the Maine Republican Party; and Pete "the Carpenter" Harring, a prominent Tea Party activist in the state. LePage has also made several cabinet appointments, including naming former GOP primary opponent Bill Beardsley as commissioner of the Department of Conservation. (A few people have reportedly turned down cabinet positions because they'd be taking a pay cut from their private-sector jobs.)

In addition to making statements about school consolidation and reducing business regulations, LePage has vowed to join a federal lawsuit opposing a key part of the federal health-care law that requires Americans to purchase health insurance; the LePage transition team did not send a representative to a presentation earlier this month by the state committee charged with creating recommendations for putting the law into action.

feat_statetheatre1_main

State Theatre

When the State Theatre re-opened in the fall, all shiny and pretty with new seats, a new bar, and restored architectural details, Portland's live-music landscape changed (again). As our own Sam Pfeifle wrote: "The proper strata for bands on the make is finally complete in Portland."

The renovation, a joint effort by New York music company The Bowery Presents and Vermont-based promoter Higher Ground Presents, was eagerly awaited by those who mourned the State's four-year closure. Since My Morning Jacket's grand-opening performance on October 15, the theater has hosted Martin Sexton, Matisyahu, and the Goo Goo Dolls, among other acts. This winter brings Girl Talk, Robyn, and Bright Eyes.

"The State has reintegrated itself quite nicely back into the Portland music community," says Lauren Wayne, the State's general manager, booker, and promoter. "Now not only do bands who sell out Port City [Music Hall] have somewhere to move up to, but Portland is getting some new eyes turned on the city and some new talent coming through as well."


1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |   next >
  Topics: News Features , Politics, Eliot Cutler, Bill Beardsley,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   NUMBER CRUNCHERS  |  July 23, 2014
    Maybe instead of devoting still-more resources to food reviews, Maine’s leading news organizations should spend money on keeping better tabs on Augusta.
  •   BLUESTOCKING FILM SERIES SHOWCASES WOMEN'S STORIES  |  July 16, 2014
    Among last year’s 100 top-grossing films, women represented just 15 percent of protagonists, and less than one-third of total characters.
  •   CHECKING IN: THE NEW GUARD AND THE WRITER'S HOTEL  |  July 11, 2014
    Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out.
  •   NO TAR SANDS  |  July 10, 2014
    “People’s feelings are clear...they don’t want to be known as the tar sands capitol of the United States."
  •   YOUR GUIDE TO ALL THINGS PRIDE!  |  June 19, 2014
    From the outset, O’Connor says, they were “foward-focused” — they had to be, given that they were basically starting from scratch — and committed to being as inclusive, positive, accessible, and transparent as possible.

 See all articles by: DEIRDRE FULTON