Mal Leary

MPBN’s Political Correspondent

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads MPBN's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.

A lifelong journalist and Maine native, Mal has worked as both a reporter and editor in broadcast and in print, in both Washington, D.C. and in Maine. He has won numerous awards for his reporting on state government issues and politics.

For several years he owned and operated Capitol News Service, which was located in the State House complex providing news coverage to radio stations as well as newspapers.

Mal is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters & Editors and has long been an advocate for open government. He is the SPJ Sunshine Chair in Maine and is currently the president of the National Freedom of Information Coalition based at the University Of Missouri Journalism School and is a Vice President of the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition.

Mal is married with three grown children, several grandchildren and lives in Augusta, within sight of the Capitol dome.

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Mal Leary / Maine Public

WATERVILLE, Maine - At a statewide symposium on civility in politics held by the Maine Council of Churches, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell denounced the incivility of this year’s campaigns and called for a return to principled discourse.

AUGUSTA, Maine - The cost-of-living increase in benefits for Social Security recipients will go up just three-tenths of one percent come January - or about $5 a month.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins says that is not enough, particularly for those who will see an increase in their Medicare premiums.

“We are not sure exactly how much they are going to be, but the initial projections are for double-digit increases," Collins says, "and that greatly concerns me.”

Maine town and city clerks are not happy with all of the talk by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Maine governor Paul LePage about rigged elections.

Clerks spend a lot of time being trained to conduct elections and they take pride in their work. Lisa Goodwin, Bangor City Clerk and President of the more than 700 member Maine Town and City Clerks Association says it’s insulting to local election officials to have their integrity challenged.

AUGUSTA, Maine - State auditor Pola Buckley has notified several state officials, including Gov. Paul LePage and Attorney General Janet Mills, that the state Department of Health and Human Services "improperly managed'' more than $13 million in federal funding.

Westbrook Rep. Drew Gattine co-chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, and believes the transfers may be illegal and that lawmakers should consider tighter controls on agency spending and contracting.

AUGUSTA, Maine - After the first three months of the budget year, state revenues are more than $32 million above estimates.

State Finance Commissioner Richard Rosen says a good summer tourist season is the reason. “All in all, we are seeing good economic activity that is resulting in revenues coming into the state that are, at the end of the first quarter, running over budget.”

It’s that time of year again, when Maine voters who serve in the military, who are living overseas or who just want the convenience of voting early can request an absentee ballot. This year requests for absentee ballots are on pace to top the number in the presidential contest of four years ago and according to reports, more Democrats are requesting them than Republicans.

Evan Vucci / The Associated Press

Election officials across the country are pushing back against Donald Trump’s assertions that the presidential election may be rigged. Maine’s top election official says elections in Maine have too many safeguards to make that possible.

What do Donald Trump and Paul LePage have in common? For one, a knack for dominating the headlines – but much of that coverage is fueling turmoil within Maine’s Republican party. That could have a significant impact in the elections that are now less than a month away.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is campaigning in Bangor this weekend and political observers believe that is because the Trump campaign thinks it has a chance of winning Maine's 2nd Congressional District, and getting what could be a crucial single vote in the Electoral College.

”The Republicans, in terms of the presidential Electoral College thinking, are looking at the 2nd District because they know that every vote that can be turned out up there will be turned out," says Colby College Government Professor Tony Corrado.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
File/maine public

While millions of dollars, and lots of attention are being spent on the state’s Second Congressional District race, the contest for Maine’s other house seat has barely made any noise at all. That’s because political observers just don’t see the race as being in play.

“Anything on your mind? I am running for re-election,” says incumbent Democratic Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. “I am quite interested in what you are thinking about.”

Mal Leary / Maine Public

AUGUSTA, Maine - The Maine Republican Party has unearthed a video from Democrat Emily Cain’s primary campaign in 2014, and they are using it to attack her current campaign for the 2nd District congressional seat now held by Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin.

In 2011 Emily Cain was in legislative leadership when the state budget was adopted, providing the largest income tax cut in state history.  Cain is touting that in her campaign.

Mainers are starting to cast absentee ballots throughout the state, and those overseas and in the military have been casting votes for a couple of weeks.

Mainers can request a ballot from their local municipality and mail it back to be counted on Election Day. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap expects big turnout this year.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine 2nd District Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin was at the New Balance shoe plant in Skowhegan today on what he called an official congressional visit.


While the state’s worsening heroin and opioid addiction crisis dominates the headlines, Maine’s drug enforcement community is also chasing a growing methamphetamine problem. They say they’re on track to double the number of meth lab busts this year.

So far this year, authorities have uncovered more than 100 meth labs, or debris from former operations, across the state. That’s twice as many as last year, and a decade ago, it would have been just five or six.

A federal appeals court has apparently ended the appeals of Dennis Deschaine, convicted of the 1988 murder and sexual assault of Sarah Cherry, then a 12-year-old from Bowdoin.

Since his first trail and through appeal after appeal, Dennis Deschaine has maintained his innocence. But a jury convicted him of sexually assaulting Sarah Cherry, stabbing her, and dumping her body in the woods near the Bowdoin home where she was babysitting. The State Supreme Court upheld his conviction. Motions for a new trial were denied.