As recently as January FHQ made the point that it was, entering 2013, still an open question as to whether legislators in Maine would pursue legislation to reinstitute a presidential primary in the state. Legislation passed in 2012 tasked the Maine Joint Committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs with exploring the option and making recommendations about any further legislative action on a primary. That exploration was to have taken place between July and October 2012.
But nothing came of that process. The committee hearing that did take place late last summer showed no support for the transition from caucuses to a primary as the means of selecting delegates and registering presidential preference. In fact, as Scott Thistle of the Lewiston Sun Journal reported, the sentiment on the committee was overwhelming against any switch despite problems encountered during the 2012 Maine Republican caucuses:
“At this point, with the other things competing for our money, maybe this isn’t something we want to move forward with,” [Rep. Jarrod] Crockett [R-Bethel] said.
“Ditto,” said Rep. Douglas Damon, R-Bangor. “I have had zero people tell me they support the initiative of a primary. Some states want it because they believe it creates revenue for the state. Maine has four [Electoral College] votes; they don’t feel there’s going to be any presidential candidates coming up here to spend money for that and the fiscal note for this is something that none of the people I spoke with want to support.”A 10-2 vote against the primary option on the committee stopped any transition in its tracks. Furthermore, no legislators have gone against that recommendation during the 2013 session of the Maine legislature by introducing any legislation to the contrary.
Maine, for the time being it seems, will stick with nominating caucuses for 2016.
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