MAINE, USA — Joining us on Political Brew this week are Ray Richardson of WLOB Radio, and Ken Altshuler, longtime co-host of the WGAN Morning News.
The political world was rocked on Friday with news that President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, and the president was hospitalized for treatment.
As Americans hope for their speedy recovery, the diagnosis will keep Trump off the campaign trail for a couple of weeks.
"This is really big," says Altshuler. "For the next month we're going to hear about Coronavirus, who in the west wing has it, how they got it, and face masks. And that's all going to hurt Donald Trump."
Richardson disagrees, saying "I don't think it makes a big difference. People that support the president aren't going to suddenly turn away from him because he has Coronavirus."
The first presidential debate took place this past week, and many have described it as a 'train wreck.'
Richardson doesn't think it will have much impact. "I'm a great believer that this election is decided, we just don't know for sure what the outcome is."
But he agrees that Trump was too aggressive.
"On a scale of 1 to 10 he was a 12," says Richardson. He believes the president should have dialed it down "and allowed Joe Biden to actually sort of hang himself politically."
Altshuler calls Trump's performance "stunningly bad," adding he was "a bully on the playground and nobody likes bullies on the playground."
But he agrees with Richardson that Trump should have allowed Biden to make mistakes rather than interrupting constantly.
In Maine's second congressional district, incumbent Democratic Rep. Jared Golden won the endorsement of former Senator and Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen, a moderate Republican, who has also endorsed Joe Biden for president and Susan Collins for senate.
Richardson is supporting Republican challenger Dale Crafts in CD-2, but says "Jared is running a smart campaign."
Given that incumbents are traditionally most vulnerable in their first term, and the popularity of President Trump in the second district, Altshuler says "I would've thought that was a tossup if not a loser for Jared Golden."
But he adds "I think he's gonna walk away with this, and it's because he's running a good campaign and he's getting endorsements from people like Bill Cohen."
In the first district, Altshuler says little known Republican challenger Dr. Jay Allen has no hope of unseating entrenched incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree.
"Allen is a very capable candidate, a very smart guy, and I think he'd be a good congressman," says Altshuler. But "he's not going to beat Chellie in the first district, so there's nothing he can do except do the best he can to be the lamb led to slaughter."
Richardson thinks there is a path for Allen. He says it depends on getting support from the 'silent majority' of Trump supporters outside of Portland.
Richardson says "If every Republican would step up to the plate in the state and give him five dollars, maybe there's a flourish at the end. But again, Jay Allen's fate really lies with Donald Trump."
Rep. Chellie Pingree and Dr. Jay Allen will participate in a NEWS CENTER Maine Voice of the Voter forum on Tuesday, October 6 at 7pm.
Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.