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Political Brew: Martial law in Maine? & Leadership or grandstanding?

Some Mainers have floated the idea in recent weeks that Maine is under a form of martial law because of executive orders from Gov. Janet Mills.

MAINE, USA — Some Mainers have floated the idea in recent weeks that Maine is under a form of martial law because of executive orders from Gov. Janet Mills in response to the Coronavirus crisis.

NEWS CENTER Maine Republican Political analyst Phil Harriman says that's no exaggeration.

"I do think this is martial law," Harriman says, "but it's voluntary. People are complying because they want to."

He says where it might go too far is if people started being arrested for violating social distancing guidelines, even as some inmates are released from jails to keep them safe from the virus.

Democratic analyst John Richardson argues "This is about public safety. I think the governor is taking the right tone in this matter."

Our analysts both think Gov. Mills and Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah have been doing a good job keeping the public informed through regular briefings.

By contrast, they think President Trump has politicized the daily national Coronavirus briefings.

Richardson says what Trump is doing is a political event "and it's obvious to people of America but it's all politics."

Harriman feels that at the start of the crisis, Trump's briefings represented real leadership and helped calm the country.

But Harriman feels "I feel he has gone too far, this has now turned into a daily press conference couched in the name of an update on the virus. It's time for him to step back out of the picture and let us focus on the solution to this virus."

This past week, Lisa Savage, the former Green Independent Party candidate who decided to run unenrolled instead, submitted signatures to get on the November ballot in Maine's U.S Senate race.

John Richardson says Savage is unlikely to gain much traction for herself, but says her presence could help elect a Democrat.

"The more people she brings out of the polls who are on the far left of the spectrum," Richardson says, "means more people for the Democratic candidate. I think with ranked choice voting, it means a better chance that the Democratic nominee can win against Susan Collins in the fall."

Phil Harriman agrees that Savage can have some impact on other races too.

He says "Those people are going to go cast a ballot for things other than the U.S. Senate, they're going to elect candidates for other offices, and that will favor Democrats."

Political Brew airs Sundays on The Morning Report.

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