Veteran journalist assesses mid-term elections
Bill Nemitz, political columnist for the Portland Press Herald, wrapped up the results of the 2018 Mid-term Elections in Maine to an overflow crowd of the Lincoln County Democratic Committee (LCDC) in Damariscotta on Wednesday, Nov. 14, during their final meeting of 2018.
LCDC Chair Chris Johnson conducted some brief business and then introduced Nemitz, whose 40+ years in journalism have seen him embedded with Maine National Guard forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and earned him election to the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame in 2015.
Nemitz began by praising Chloe Maxmin’s successful campaign for Lincoln County’s State House District 88, informing the group that Nov. 13’s Washington Post article about the future of the Democratic party in rural areas stated that Maxmin hailed from “the most rural county in the most rural state” in the U.S. He quoted a comment from her campaign website which stated, “I grew up on my family’s farm in Nobleboro. For as long as I can remember, I have cared about our community more than anything and knew that I would devote my life to our shared home. I went to Lincoln Academy for high school and Harvard for college. The day after I graduated, I moved back to build my life in Maine.”
“It struck me,” he said, “that this woman is the future of the Maine Democratic party, along with Jared Golden, whose race I’ll focus on later.”
The journalist discussed the race for governor, saying he had had the opportunity to take an extended drive one-on-one with Shawn Moody who he genuinely liked and complimented for running a clean campaign saying, “I commend him … for running the kind of race he did. For doin’ his best. And then, when it wasn’t to be, for losing graciously.”
He talked about the potential for growth that the Democratic majority and Mills administration represent, critiquing outgoing Gov. Paul LePage for issuing, “642 vetoes. That is more than all previous governors of Maine combined,” and went on to compare Maine government to the resiliency of a 1978 VW Beetle he and his wife had recently acquired, saying, “You get a couple of dudes behind it and someone in the driver’s seat, you pop the clutch and it starts! Putt-putt-putt … And that’s what I see happening now with Maine’s state government. It’s finally been jump-started and it’s going to roll on.”
Nemitz was familiar with Golden from his time in the Maine State Legislature. Golden, along with 2nd Congressional District U.S. Representative Bruce Poliquin, was awaiting the results of the Ranked-Choice Voting tabulation. The veteran journalist predicted Golden’s eventual victory, saying, “I was impressed over and over by how unassuming he was, how down-to-earth he was, how intelligent he was, how unflappable he was, and I thought, ‘This is the prototypical candidate for CD2.’”
The presentation closed with Nemitz taking questions from the floor, among them being a question about the future of Maine’s senior Senator Susan Collins. After mentioning the possibility of her choosing to not run again, he listed why various constituencies might or might not support a future re-election bid and indicated he thought the time might be right for a successful Democratic challenge.
Johnson thanked Nemitz for his presence and insight into Maine’s political landscape and requested volunteers for the nominating committee before issuing a final thank you for their efforts and a call to come together Jan. 23 for the first meeting of 2019.