Welcome back to Maineweek Madness, an occasional column where Jezebel gazes wistfully North. This installment is dedicated to the construction guys who held my dog’s leash and politely listened to me sing John Prine karaoke after one too many at Skywalker’s Barre and Grille in Machias, back when we could do such things and John Prine was still alive. Thanks, guys! It would have been entirely appropriate for you to laugh, but you were so kind.
Today we have a big development on the Fuck Susan Collins beat, which is that something entirely predictable happened that nonetheless inches us closer to the day when Susan Collins gets finally and eternally fucked. Yesterday, Sara Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, formally became the Democratic nominee to challenge Collins for her seat in November. The race is one of the elections that will be influential in determining which party holds the Senate next year. As we have noted in the past, Susan Collins is best known these days for her soppy, disingenuous attitudes towards Brett Kavanaugh’s abortion stance and Donald Trump’s sense of contrition.
Though Gideon’s opponents included Bre Kidman—a queer attorney who righteously chose a guillotine as their campaign logo—and longtime lobbyist Betsy Sweet, Gideon’s victory seemed more or less inevitable given the embrace of her campaign from the Democratic establishment, even in a state that votes using ranked-choice. Gideon’s campaign allies included Planned Parenthood, EMILY’s List, and the Democratic New York Senator Chuck Schumer, giving her a wild advantage in terms of campaign contributions, as the Portland Press Herald notes:
Those high-profile endorsements helped Gideon raise more than $23 million for her campaign as of June 24, demolishing all previous fundraising records in Maine even before the Democratic primary. Since announcing her candidacy in June 2019, Gideon has focused almost exclusively on Collins, not her primary opponents.
Factoring in the nearly $17 million raised by Collins’ campaign to date and the tens of millions in spending by outside groups, Maine’s Senate race is already the most expensive race in state history and could be one of the costliest Senate races nationwide in 2020.
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Now that Gideon has taken the official mantle as Collins’s challenger, she’s also getting the additional $4 million crowdfunded for whoever ended up running against the Republican following Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Collins, according to the New York Times, is a little concerned about the money and also bummed that all the state fairs she’d usually campaign at are canceled given Maine’s ongoing issues with the vi.
Perhaps in solidarity with Collins and her impending defeat, all kinds of terrifying creatures have been crawling around the state of Maine over the last couple of weeks. A motel owner in Norway, seeking to collect an unpaid bill, walked into one of his tenants’ rooms to find 53 spiders packed into various cages, including three tarantulas, which are illegal to own without a permit. The guest and his pals were evicted—many of the spiders to a natural science center; the man in question to parts unknown. It also appears that three counties have been designated as “high bear conflict” areas as either residents see more bears during quarantine or the animals, ravenous given the recent drought conditions, wander further afield.
And finally, there have been initial signs that the state’s official Florida Man has returned to his natural environment, the Maine BMV:
The “Urban Air” Adventure park, an indoor amusement park located in a former Staples at the Airport Mall in Bangor, has opened despite the fact that opening an indoor amusement park appears to be the absolute worst thing a person could do in these particular times. The park offers ropes courses, climbing walls, a high-jump ride, and trampolines, as well as temperature checks for every guest. When the park opened in early July, it offered a “sneak preview” and free admission for healthcare workers and first responders. Imagine living among some of the most breathtaking natural environments in the country and risking your life for this:
This week in bad tweets:
From some of the people who turned Montauk from a working-class enclave into a Sag Harbor that takes longer to drive to, we bring you House Island, a $250,000-a-week private island rental in Casco Bay once used as a quarantine station. Considered the “Ellis Island of the North” in the early 20th century, the island now boasts five beaches, three historic lodges, and its own water and electricity supply—plus, a 15-minute ambulance boat ride to the hospital, as its website helpfully states.
Real estate agent Dylan Eckardt—“the man who ate Montauk”—and Portland entrepreneur Noah Gordon are doing their absolute best to market the pricey rental as a luxury self-isolation site: “That f—-ing place is rad,” Eckardt said. “I don’t care if you want to bring the f—-ing Rolling Stones and rock out there.”
“Everything I touch turns to sold, anyway,” he added.
- Congrats to Erik Poland of Andover, who recently caught a 44-inch-long, 29.2-pound trout, breaking a 62-year-old fishing record. [Bangor Daily News]
- In two cases, vandals have destroyed fencing and dismantled the protected nesting habitats of piping plovers, an endangered Maine species of shorebird. [AP]
- If Twitter were real life, Mainers would not like masks. [Kennebec Journal]
- Today in Maine history, 1980: Cub Scout Todd Rogers won the first-ever moose lottery at the Bangor Civic Center. [Press Herald]
- Here is how to correctly poop in the woods. [Bangor Daily News]