March 29, 2020

BDN, Telegram endorse Baldacci Newspapers divided on tax reform issue

AUGUSTA – With varying degrees of enthusiasm, Gov. John Baldacci won weekend endorsements of his re-election campaign from newspapers in the north and south of Maine.

Addressing two top-of-the-ticket ballot issues, the Bangor Daily News on Saturday urged the re-election of the Democratic incumbent and the defeat of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights citizen initiative.

“John Baldacci concludes what is likely to be his final political campaign with the same focus on issues, the same attention to Maine and the same admirable work ethic he has had throughout his career,” the newspaper said in its lead editorial.

“Though he has been attacked politically during his nearly four years as governor, had to face down difficult economic events and made a few missteps himself, he has built a strong record of achievement. He deserves to be returned to office as governor of Maine,” the newspaper said.

Baldacci, a Bangor native, began his political career on the Bangor City Council and served from the city in the state Senate for 12 years before heading to Washington for four terms as a U.S. representative from Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.

In a separate editorial, the BDN said the Question 1 spending-and-tax curbing plan known as TABOR is too negative, confining and unnecessary.

“Maine must not be so willing to surrender,” the BDN said.

A week ago, the Maine Sunday Telegram came out in an editorial in favor of TABOR.

On Sunday, the Portland-based newspaper declared its backing for Baldacci in tempered language, saying his performance in his first two years as governor had not been matched in the last two years.

“Had the Republican nomination gone to another candidate, our endorsement might have turned out differently,” the Telegram said.

“Our choice of Baldacci over state Sen. Chandler Woodcock, however, does not rest simply on Woodcock’s conservative social views. Woodcock, 57, a retired high school teacher and coach, has pledged to lower taxes and health care costs but has yet to articulate how. The plain-spoken Farmingtonian does not come across as the kind of pragmatist Maine needs in these pivotal years.”

Concluding its editorial statement, the Telegram said: “Should voters decide to give Baldacci a second term, we hope the governor will recapture the vigor that marked his first two years. Although John Baldacci is not our ideal candidate, he is the best available option to lead Maine for the next four years.”

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