As predicted, on Sunday Ben Grant became the new Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. The delegates also selected former Attorney General Janet Mills as Vice Chair. You can see a complete list of winners here.
Ben and the Dems have their work cut out for them in the next two years as they try to regain a majority in at least one House of the Legislature, rally Mainers to support an alternative to Senator Olympia Snowe, and attempt to recreate the enthusiasm we saw in 2008 for Obama. No small feat, by any measure.
I had the chance to ask the new Dem Chair a few questions, and here is what he told me:
1. In five sentences or less, why are you a Democrat and why do you want to lead the Maine Democratic Party?
I am a Democrat because I believe in society’s capacity to form a more just and tolerant world, and in the realm of politics it is only the Democratic Party that embraces that mission. Ours is the party of progress, of believing that our biggest challenges can be met, and of equal opportunity for all. I believe deeply that the people of this state are better off when the Democratic Party sets the agenda, and all of the things that so many worked so long to create in this state are under immediate and dire threat. I want to lead the party because we have to make 2012 a winning year, and I have the background, commitment, energy and support to set that project in motion. Read more »
On Sunday, January 23rd, Democrats from around the state will gather in Augusta to select a new Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. Over the past few weeks, the field of candidates has been whittled down to three. Some Party insiders have told me, however, that one candidate, Ben Grant, has the votes in place to win and will become the next Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. (You heard it at mainepolitics.net first!)
The Chair is a critical role for the Party in terms of fundraising, campaign development, candidate recruitment, and above all, a vision for the beleaguered Democrats. One high-ranking Democratic Party official told me that the Party is still haunted by the friction created among leaders during the Obama vs. Hillary primaries. Throw on top of that the absolute shellacking the Democrats took in November and you have a Party in modest disrepair, at best.
The new Chair will likely need to address the fallout created by the anti-Cutler mailers the Party sent out during the last election, mailers that some found offensive and/or xenophobic. I was volunteering my time during the final days of the campaign at the Dem Party HQ in Augusta and was tasked with answering the phone the day the mailers started to hit mailboxes. It wasn’t a pleasant assignment. Read more »