Assignment Desk: The GOP Establishment versus movement conservatives

What I’d like to know more about: What’s going on with the Maine Republican party? Part of an occasional series of posts on articles I’d like to read.

With a number of Republicans gathering signatures to get on the Senate primary ballot, there are evident schisms between the GOP Establishment and movement conservatives, such as Tea Party activists and other highly conservative individuals.

For example, Aaron Prill, who supported Governor LePage’s primary bid, gives his analysis of the support bases of the different elements of the Republican party. He classifies Attorney General Schneider and Secretary of State Summers as linked to Snowe, which would weaken their political potential.

Combined with the reality that a Snowe endorsement will likely alienate much of the GOP’s more conservative members (like me), I expect this split of the “Snowe vote” to open the door for one of the other candidates to be the party’s nominee.

Lance Dutson of the Maine Heritage Policy Center/Maine Wire (which Prill sees as supporting Rick Bennett) links Snowe and Schneider via an e-mail list Schneider is using and suggests that Senator Snowe may endorse the Attorney General.  Dutson views this as politically problematic.

As candidates scramble to get signatures this weekend, a Snowe endorsement, at first glance, seems like a plus. Until you look at the electorate.This is a primary electorate dominated by conservatives and Tea Partiers. Many people believe Snowe dropped out of the race because she was looking at an embarrassing loss to the relatively unknown Scott D’Amboise. This means Olympia’s support could end Schneider’s chances at the nomination before they even begin.

While public polls did not show that Senator Snowe would lose a primary, support for her has been relatively low in her own party compared to the Maine electorate. (Isn’t it striking that now an association with this politician so very popular in Maine would be seen as a net minus for many in the Republican party?)

I’d like to see a really good, detailed analysis from one of Maine’s fine political reporters or bloggers about these divisions and the extent to which they reflect: associations between individuals, past political and policy arguments and coalitions, support for candidates for the presidential nomination, ideological differences, regional splits, and tensions between Governor LePage and others in the party and government.

Or at least some of that.  Please.

In fact, dear reader, if you have some thoughts about this you’d like to share, please go ahead.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.