Steve Mistler

Chief Political Correspondent and State House Bureau Chief

Steve has been a journalist for nearly two decades, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government. His work has been recognized by the Maine Press Association and the New England Newspaper and Press Association for investigative projects and accountability journalism. He was named the MPA’s Journalist of the Year in 2011 for his coverage of municipal government for The Forecaster in Falmouth and, later, for his coverage of state government for the Sun Journal in Lewiston.

Steve became the state house bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram in 2012. After four years with Maine’s largest daily newspaper, Steve made the leap to radio journalism, joining Maine Public in May 2016.

Steve is married with one child and has two crazy dogs. His family lives in Brunswick.

Ways to Connect

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Amid a national debate over gun violence, Maine lawmakers are being asked to grapple with a difficult question: If someone is deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves and to others, should police be able to temporarily confiscate their guns?

Maine Public staff/file

Another turn in the ongoing legal and political fight over ranked-choice voting Maine — Republicans in the Maine Senate on Monday passed a measure to block implementation of the system, which could be in place for the June primaries.

A Kennebec County Superior Court judge says she’ll soon rule on a request to require Maine election officials to use ranked-choice voting in the June primaries.

Judge Michaela Murphy said Friday that she’ll rule in the next few days.

Supporters of ranked-choice voting filed an injunction Thursday to force Secretary of State Matt Dunlap to implement the system after Maine’s top election official warned that a conflict in statutes could scuttle plans to use the system for the June 12 primary, barring a legislative fix.

Toby Talbot / Associated Press

It’s still unclear whether Maine voters will use a landmark ranked choice voting system in June that will purportedly make elections less acrimonious and less partisan. But the fate of the voting system could largely be determined by voters who identify as partisans, and less so by the state’s biggest voting bloc: independents.

Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to stay at the Trump International Hotel in D.C. last year may have helped advance a Maryland court case challenging the president’s ability to hold onto his financial stake in his business empire.

A $45 million tax break for Bath Iron works is one step closer to becoming law. The tax break would be stretched over the next 15 years.

The Senate voted 25-9 to approve an amended version of a bill that provides a tax break to the shipbuilder in return for at least $200 million spent on construction, improvement, modernization or expansion. The company will also have to maintain at least 5,500 workers.

The original bill would have provided a $60 million tax break and without the minimum investment and workforce requirements currently in the amended version.

The Maine Senate voted 21-14 today to add $700,000 to Maine's public campaign financing program.

The program, known as the Maine Clean Election Act, currently has over $6 million, but administrators say more may be needed because of its heavy use by gubernatorial and legislative candidates this year. 

During the floor debate, Democratic Sen. Mike Carpenter, of Houlton, said it's important to protect the program that Republicans and Democrats use to finance their campaigns.

Mal Leary / Maine Public/file

Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau is ending his bid for governor. Thibodeau announced that he's dropping out of the governor's race in a Facebook post published Monday.

Danny McL / Flickr

The state legislature's investigative office has been tasked with another project: determining whether the LePage administration retaliated against Maine mill owners because the owners disagree with the governor's stance on tariffs on Canadian lumber.

The unanimous vote by the Government Oversight Committee to authorize the investigation came just two days after Gov. LePage tore into lawmakers for questioning his administration's abrupt decision to divert publicly-owned logs from mills owned by Jason and Chris Brochu to a Canadian-owned company.

The lead Democrat on the Legislature's Energy Committee says he and other lawmakers might intervene if the Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approves a $1.2 million subsidy for Stored Solar LLC.

A.J. Higgins / Maine Public/file

The campaign of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Brakey is challenging whether his Maine primary opponent has qualified for the ballot.

Brakey, a state senator from Auburn, filed an official protest Thursday with Maine election officials against Bar Harbor Republican Max Linn, citing an array of irregularities with Linn's ballot petitions. Brakey's campaign asserts that it found petitions that were signed by people who are deceased, duplicates and inconsistencies with signatures by a notary.

Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins says it’s essential that the special counsel investigating Russian election interference and possible connections to the Trump campaign be allowed to complete his work.

Jay Field / Maine Public

Maine utility regulators are recommending that an embattled biomass company forfeit 20 percent of its $1 million state subsidy for falling well short on purchases of waste wood from Maine loggers — a reduction that some loggers say is not nearly enough.

Maine Public

Independent U.S. Sen. Angus King is questioning the timing of the abrupt ouster of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, describing it as mean-spirited.

Samantha Fields / Maine Public/file

The field of gubernatorial candidates affiliated with Maine’s two largest political parties has shrunk from 24 to 12.