DATE: 11/19/2004 09:32:00 AM
Maine Dodges a Bullet - Senator John Martin lost his bid to become president of the Maine senate. Martin, for those who do not follow Maine politics, is the former speaker of the state House of Representatives. He is from Eagle Lake in Aroostook County (population 815), a town that seems to like state pork more than it likes electing honorable people to office. In other words, it's a smaller version of West Virginia.
Someday, there will be a book written about how a man from a small town in Maine consolidated power as speaker and basically ran the state of Maine for years. It was a petty scandal that brought Martin down, and distaste for his actions is what caused Maine voters to pass a term limits referendum. He's only in office again because the Maine term limits law allows people to serve four terms, take two years off, then serve again.
Maine's Democrats were wise to keep Martin from a powerful position in Augusta. He was one of the most partisan, vindictive and just plain mean speakers in Maine's history, and there's no reason to believe he would have been any different as senate president. Governor John Baldacci must be breathing a sigh of relief at this, as the humbling of Martin means he can keep running the state.