FREEPORT, Maine (10/6/14)--Thanks to the Maine Credit Union League's annual legislative forum last week, credit unions and their members can consider themselves educated for the slew of upcoming elections set for the first week of November.
|Jon Paradise, vice president of governmental and public affairs, Maine Credit Union League (left); Elise Baldacci, director of governmental affairs; political journalist Judy Woodruff; and league President/CEO John Murphy gather at the league's annnual legislative forum. (Maine Credit Union League Photo)|
More than 120 credit union representatives filed into Harraseeket in Freeport, Maine, on Oct. 1 to listen to speakers discuss the national political landscape, key races and what's happening in Maine.
"There are a number of key Senate races that could go either way," said the first speaker, Judy Woodruff, a longtime political correspondent who has covered national elections since 1976 for news outlets such as NBC, CNN and PBS. "I am anticipating Republicans to pick up anywhere from five to eight seats; however, we may not know who will control the Senate until after Election Day."
Several key races are unfolding in Maine as well, including the governor's race, the 2nd District Congressional race and several other high-profile legislative races.
Following Woodruff, Jim Melcher, political science professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, shared his insight on the governor's race and the legislative races.
Support for Republican Gov. Paul LePage and challenger U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) hasn't shifted greatly in recent weeks, but Melcher said that soon could change.
"Over the next month, both campaigns will pull out all the stops trying to capture that very small number of undecided voters," Melcher told the audience. "For (Michaud), the fact that (Independent candidate) Eliot Cutler's numbers continue to drop is good news, but Cutler's presence still risks splitting the vote enough to give Governor LePage another term."
Melcher also said he believes that Democrats will remain in control of the Maine House, while the Senate will be closer to even.
The forum concluded with a lively discussion that featured Ken Altshuler and Mike Vioette from the popular WGAN radio show "Morning News with Ken and Mike." Both agreed with Melcher that Michaud's success depends on how much support Cutler receives.
As for the 2nd District race, both said it would be too close to call.
Gary Desjardins, supervisory committee member at Otis FCU, Jay, Maine, with $136 million in assets, was appreciative of all the information gleaned from the speakers at the event.
"A great day," Desjardins said. "The insight and knowledge of all of the speakers was really informative and entertaining."