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 »
Matthew Gagnon claims to have a source close to the Attorney General who says that John Richardson has been denied clean elections funding and that some of his signature gatherers are being investigated for fraud.
Gagnon also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder for "a sneering political reporter from one of Maine’s largest daily newspapers."
Houlton and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills get the Colbert Report treatment:
The governor's office has announced that the special election for District 89 will be held on February 3rd. The district, which includes Farmington and Industry, was left without a representative when Janet Mills was appointed Attorney General.
Candidates must be selected by local party committees by January 5th. One Democrat, Dennis Haszko, and one Republican, Lance Harvell, have declared their intentions to seek the seat.
Faircloth didn't sit back and take it when the story came out, however. He and Sen. Joe Perry (also of Bangor) distributed this letter refuting the charges made in the piece and alleging that his Democratic opponents participated in the attacks.
Now that the race is over, PolitickerME reports that Brautigam is open to being appointed U.S. Attorney.
Representative Janet Mills has won the Democratic nomination for Attorney General after beating Sean Faircloth in the second round of voting.
Mills was confident earlier in the day, telling PolitickerME that she would win the nomination.
Of the three candidates, Mills had the greatest amount of legal experience. She's also the only candidate to have been born and raised in Maine. Her appointment tomorrow will necessitate a special election in District 89 (Farmington and Industry).
While there doesn't seem to be full a recording or transcript of the forum online anywhere, AG candidate John Brautigam did bring his personal camcorder to the debate and has posted clips of most of the opening and closing statements to his youtube channel. Here's the opening:
Representative Sean Faircloth, another AG candidate, hasn't been youtubing as much, but (as I mentioned in my recent Down East column) he has been emailing information about his experience and plans for all aspects of the office to his fellow Democratic lawmakers. I've uploaded the material he sent me and you can grab it here in a zip archive.
The Attorney General selection process is getting a bit more attention than normal this year. Three strong candidates are running for the Democratic nomination, and the Maine League of Women Voters and the AARP recently held a debate between the contenders.
For more on the candidates' backgrounds and plans, check out these audio interviews:
I'll be talking with the candidates myself over the next few days. Are there any questions you'd like asked?
Janet Mills' local paper takes a look at her race for Attorney General and her opponents, Sean Faircloth and John Brautigam.
Maine is the only state in the country to elect our AG through a vote of the legislature, which will occur on December 3rd.