Mills’ election as governor voted Maine’s top story in 2018
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills clashed with Republican Gov. Paul LePage by refusing to represent him in some legal disputes, and she vowed to reverse many of the policies he championed when she succeeds him.
Mills’ election was voted Maine’s top story of 2018 by The Associated Press and its member news organizations in the state.
Mills swept aside six opponents in her primary race and then won a three-way general election with 51 percent to become the first woman elected to the office in Maine.
Here are the other top 10 stories, in order:
2. RANKED-CHOICE VOTING
Approved by voters in 2016, the new voting system was used for the first time in statewide primaries and congressional races. It led to the election of Democrat Jared Golden over Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Poliquin contested the results, arguing he had the most first-place votes. Golden emerged as the victor after two independents were eliminated and their votes were reassigned under the system that’s designed to ensure that there is a majority winner.
3. SUPREME COURT BATTLE
The political battle over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh led to one of the most closely watched votes by Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Critics vowed to make the popular centrist pay a political price because she voted for Kavanaugh. Collins likened the crowdsourced funding that targeted her to a “bribe, or extortion” and insisted that she “will not be intimidated.”
4. CHILD WELFARE REFORMS
The deaths of two children led lawmakers to approve a child welfare bill that shifted the focus of Maine’s child protection system away from family reunification and toward the best interests of the children. Marissa Kennedy, 10, of Stockton Springs, and Kendall Chick, 4, of Wiscasset, died as a result of abuse in their homes, law enforcement officials have said.
5. OFFICER SHOT
Cpl. Gene Cole was the first law enforcement officer to be killed in the line of duty in nearly 30 years in Maine. Cole, 62, was a talented musician who decided to make a dramatic career change in middle age to law enforcement. He was shot and killed by a man who stole his cruiser and eluded police for four days.
6. MEDICAID EXPANSION
A state judge took the LePage administration to task and ordered the governor to take steps to implement a Medicaid expansion that was approved by voters.
LePage long blocked the expansion on grounds that it would be too costly for state government. But the judge decried the “hyperbolic claims of fiscal calamity” and gave the state until Feb. 1 to roll out the program.
7. LEPAGE’S LEGACY
The outgoing Republican governor repaid millions of dollars to hospitals, cut taxes and red tape, and left the state in good fiscal shape. But his bombastic language and scorched-earth tactics in which he attacked opponents and forced a state government shutdown were often criticized.
8. BARBARA BUSH
The death of the former first lady and champion of literacy was felt keenly in Maine, where the family has long spent its summers. The children’s hospital at Maine Medical Center bears Barbara Bush’s name.
The death of her husband, the nation’s 41st president, was not included in the tally because his Nov. 30 passing happened after the media survey was under way.
9. HYDROPOWER PROPOSAL
Central Maine Power wants to build a 145-mile (230-kilometer) power line to bring hydropower from Quebec into New England.
The proposal emerged after the Northern Pass project was rejected by regulators in New Hampshire. As in New Hampshire, some critics in Maine believe the project would spoil scenery while failing to provide a big benefit for state ratepayers.
10. LOBSTER WORRIES
After China imposed 25 percent retaliatory tariffs against the United States in an escalating trade war, exports of Maine lobsters to the Asian superpower plummeted by nearly a third. But the lobster industry filled much of the void by exporting more to Canada, reducing the impact of the tariffs on the critical industry.