Political news

Ed Morin / MPBN

Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud leaves office next month after a dozen years in Washington - the consequence of his unsuccessful run for governor in Maine.

It's Thursday, and that means it's time for "Across the Aisle," our weekly foray into Maine politics.

AUGUSTA, Maine - In the three-way race for Maine governor, the candidate that spent the least amount of money came out on top.

Final finance reports filed this week show that incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage spent just under $2 million over the course of the heated campaign.

Meanwhile, Democrat Mike Michaud spent more than $3 million in his unsuccessful bid to defeat LePage. Independent Eliot Cutler, who came in a distant third, spent just under $3 million.

Cutler pumped roughly $1.3 million of his own money into his second gubernatorial attempt.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The executive director of the Maine Democratic Party is stepping down.

The party said Thursday that Mary Erin Casale is leaving her post and will be replaced by Finance Director Jeremy Kennedy until a new executive director is announced next month.

Casale has been executive director since 2011.

She said in a statement that it has always been her "intention to step down at the end of this year to pursue other opportunities.''

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The chief of Maine's human services agency says Gov. Paul LePage will continue his efforts to reform the state's welfare system in his second term.

The Kennebec Journal reports that Mary Mayhew, commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, said at a business event Wednesday that the administration plans to pursue restrictions on food stamps and cash welfare benefits, while expanding job training to Medicaid recipients when the Legislature convenes next month.