Friday December 19, 2014
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Friday December 19, 2014
Posted: Aug 15, 2014

Vegas, baby!

Open Season

Politico had an interesting story Friday about how Las Vegas (you know, the place where “What Happens Here Stays Here”) is making a comeback among politicians looking to schmooze and raise money.

Politico noted how former Secretary of State and potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Democratic House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Republican House Speaker John Boehner have all recently made political sojourns to Sin City, which is home to Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire who is a major donor for Republicans.

The piece noted that the United Steelworkers of America were having their annual conference, spanning four days, in Vegas. Speakers included Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who represents Nevada, and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, Maine’s Democratic nominee for governor.

According to Michaud campaign spokesperson Lizzy Reinholt, Michaud, a former mill worker who is a USW member,  spent less than 24 hours in Vegas on Wednesday. Michaud addressed the convention, but did not raise any money for his campaign.

But that’s not to say he didn’t do any fundraising. While in Vegas, Michaud — surrounded by his union brethren — accepted the “Ice Bucket Challenge” from Emily Cain, a Democrat seeking the 2nd congressional seat against Republican Bruce Poliquin, to raise money to fight ALS.

Here’s a video of that happening:

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that Rick Bennett, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, accepted Michaud’s challenge on Thursday. Here’s a video of that happening:

Getting back to Michaud addressing the union convention.

According to the USW’s daily newsletter, Michaud credited USW activists for helping him earn 96 percent of the vote in his hometown of East Millinocket during a six-way primary for the 2nd Congressional District in 2002. Michaud noted the importance of solidarity among union workers, reportedly telling the crowd that voting turnout was so high in 2002 the town was running out of ballots.

He also called on USW to “once again roar on Election Day,” saying the Republican Governors Association has already spent $3 million  in ads attacking him, according to the report.

A screen grab of Tweets as assembled on the United Steelworkers of America's website about U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud's address the convention in Las Vegas.
A screen grab of Tweets as assembled on the United Steelworkers of America’s website about U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud’s address the convention in Las Vegas.

That last bit about the RGA ad buy was repeated in a fundraising email sent Friday. “The Republican Governors Association has already spent nearly $3 million and has committed to spend whatever it takes to buy LePage another four years,” Michaud said in the email.

The fundraising email notes Michaud’s grassroots campaign and support (75,000 doors knocked, 350,000 phone calls, $2 million raised, 15,400 contributions). Much of that grassroots effort is being funded by a $300,000 donation the USW made to the Maine Democratic Party, which has been talking up its door-to-door activities.

While the RGA spending is certainly impressive, Michaud also has several PAC supporting his candidacy as well. Maine Forward plans to spend $2 million on ads supporting Michaud. Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund announced Thursday it was planning to spend at least $500,000 on Michaud’s behalf this fall, while the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund is also raising money on his behalf.

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