AUGUSTA – Democrat Sam Shapiro may ask his party to consider requiring its candidates to pledge to support other Democrats, now that two sitting state lawmakers have broken ranks and endorsed independent Eliot Cutler for governor.

Shapiro, a former state and party treasurer, brought up the issue last week at a Kennebec County caucus. In an interview the next day, he said he’s thinking of ways to ensure that those who get elected as Democrats stay loyal to the party.

Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, and Rep. Leila Percy, D-Phippsburg, announced recently they are supporting Cutler for governor instead of their party’s nominee, Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro.

“I think it’s a dastardly deed whenever people get elected under the flag of the Democratic Party (but support someone else),” he said. “There has to be a loyalty to that ticket.”

Shapiro, of Waterville, said legislators get elected because of their party affiliation and face a much more difficult road if they run as independent. “If you have a change of heart, you should leave the party,” he said.

Damon and Percy are both termed out, so they aren’t seeking re-election this cycle. Neither could be reached for comment Friday.

DUELING RALLIES WEDNESDAY

EqualityMaine has scheduled a State House rally at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to send “a clear message that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered families need the protections of marriage.”

The event is planned in advance of a noon rally in Capitol Park sponsored by the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage. That organization is kicking off a multistate tour in Maine to promote traditional marriage.

GOP VOTE ON IMMIGRATION LAW

The Maine Republican Party State Committee is due to vote Saturday on a resolution in support of a controversial Arizona immigration law.

Party Chairman Charlie Webster said he thinks there’s enough support on the committee — which has 79 members — to pass the resolution.

“Some members of the committee felt strongly about it,” he said.

About 50 members are expected to gather in Presque Isle for the meeting.

BAILEY SIGNED AS CONSULTANT

Political consultant Dennis Bailey has signed on as a consultant with independent gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody of Gorham.

Moody, who runs a chain of auto repair shops, said he wanted someone with insider knowledge to help with the campaign.

“He’s very experienced, very versatile,” Moody said. “He brings knowledge to the campaign we don’t have.”

SENATE HOLDS ONE-DAY SESSION

The Senate will return to Augusta for a one-day session Aug. 25 to consider appointments recommended by Gov. John Baldacci.

The session will begin at 2 p.m. There are potentially dozens of positions up for consideration, according to the Governor’s Office.

WRITER COMMENTS ON MAINE RACES

Louis Jacobson, a staff writer for PolitiFact, the fact-checking website that is part of the St. Petersburg Times of Florida, recently posted his early thoughts on legislative races across the country.

In Maine, he predicts Democrats will hold the House, where they currently enjoy a 95-55 margin.

But he thinks it could be a different story in the Senate, which now is controlled 20-15 by Democrats.

“The nearly 2-to-1 Democratic margin in the state House should hold, even in a tough midterm cycle for the party,” he wrote. “But the state Senate, which is much closer and which has often been competitive in past cycles, is in play once again. Maine’s celebrated independent streak and its public-financing law could meld with anti-incumbent sentiments to produce a volatile fight for control. It rates leans Democratic for now, but that could change.”

NEW COLLEAGUE WELCOMED

My new colleague in the State House, Rebekah Metzler, will join me next week as we team up to write this column and the online blog On Maine Politics.

Metzler most recently worked as a political reporter for the Sun Journal in Lewiston and has covered Maine’s congressional delegation in Washington for the Bangor Daily News. Together, we’ll keep you in the loop about political happenings in print and online.

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]