March 10, 2010

Elizabeth Mitchell files for governor's race

SUSAN M

— By . COVER

Libby Mitchell (Elizabeth Mitchell) State Senator

Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, filed paperwork Monday to run for governor, the second state senator in a week to announce a Blaine House bid.

Mitchell, 69, who in 1997 became the state's first female House Speaker, said she's ready to lead in the areas of energy, education and health care.

''Maine will lead in getting health costs under control, while providing access for all,'' she said in a statement. ''Maine will lead in reinventing its farming and fishing and wood products industries to compete in the world economy.''

With the announcement, Mitchell became the 15th person -- and sixth Democrat -- to announce a run for governor in the 2010 election.

Last week, Sen. Peter Mills, R-Cornville, said he is entering the race. Since then, Eriq Manson, a Democrat from Old Orchard Beach, filed paperwork with the ethics commission to run for governor.

The race is wide open this year because Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, is prevented by term limits from running again.

Mitchell, who was first elected to the Legislature in 1974, will finish out her legislative career next spring as Senate president. After that, she will devote her attention to running for governor and will forgo another run for the state Senate -- even if she doesn't win her party primary in June, she said in an interview.

Mitchell, a lawyer, said she will use the state's public-financing system to help pay for her campaign. She said that will help her spend more time talking to voters, rather than ''spending time in a back office dialing wealthy strangers and friends.''

Mitchell will face opposition in her party primary from former Attorney General Steve Rowe of Portland; Rep. Dawn Hill of York; Donna Dion of Biddeford; Rosa Scarcelli of Portland, and Manson.

Other Republicans who have said they are running for governor are Matthew Jacobson of Portland and Bruce Poliquin of Georgetown.

Two Green Independents are running: Lynne Williams of Bar Harbor and Patrick Quinlan of Gorham.

Four are unenrolled: Samme Bailey of Gorham; Augustus Edgerton of Bangor; Alex Hammer of Bangor, and John Whitcomb of Sidney.

Les Otten of Greenwood is mulling a run as a Republican.

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