by Kate Sheppard
The Huffington Post
A freak early-season snowstorm has paralyzed large parts of Maine, leaving thousands without power and putting a damper on today’s election.
Some parts of the state recorded up to 21 inches of snow. CentralMaine.com reports that up to 65,000 residents were still without power as of Monday, and some towns had to change their polling locations because of the outage.
The state has posted an updated list of polling places that includes the relocated stations. Maine voters are electing both their governor and a senator on Tuesday. Some commenters have noted that the snowstorm may pose the biggest electoral concern for Maine’s incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage, as it affected the more conservative central and northern part of the state but dropped only a little bit of snow in the more liberal region of the state near Portland.
LePage is locked in a tight reelection bid against both Democratic challenger Mike Michaud and Independent Eliot Cutler. HuffPost Pollster’s average heading into Tuesday’s election had LePage and Michaud neck-and-neck, at 40.8 percent and 40.3 percent, respectively. Cutler looks likely to carve off a double-digit percentage of voters as well.
LePage is firebrand conservative whom Politico named “America’s craziest governor.” LePage has said in the past that climate change is a hoax and that it’s “made-up science, lying science.” He has also said that maybe global warming wouldn’t be so bad for Maine because it could open up new shipping routes. Last year, LePage vetoed legislation authorizing a study on climate change and actions the state should take to prepare for it.
Climate deniers like to pounce on snowstorms as evidence that climate change isn’t happening. But scientists have found that increased precipitation, including heavy snowstorms, may actually be driven by climate change. A warmer atmosphere holds more moisture, which increases the chances of a major precipitation event like a snowstorm.