March 2, 2012

Two Pingrees mull campaign options

By Kelley Bouchard
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — Democratic Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree continues to mull entering the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe.

Chellie Pingree is one of numerous Democratic candidates who may seek the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

Doug Jones / Staff Photographer

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Hannah Pingree

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Meanwhile, her daughter, Hannah Pingree, a former state representative and House speaker from North Haven, is considering whether to run for Maine's 1st Congressional District seat if her mother decides to make the leap.

"I think she's very seriously thinking about it," Chellie Pingree said of her daughter this morning during a news conference outside her congressional office at the Marine Trade Center on Portland's waterfront.

"It may not be the right time for her," Pingree said of her daughter.

Pingree said she has been amazed at the encouragement she has received from people across the country who have urged her to go for Snowe's seat, but she's weighing all of her options.

Pingree said she's not being pressured or encouraged one way or the other by Maine's Democratic Party leaders.

"There's no big boss who cracks the whip in a situation like this," Pingree said.

She said she enjoys her current position, but she's confident she could win Snowe's seat. She said she's been through tough, statewide campaigns before and she's familiar with the breadth of Maine communities and issues.

Pingree said she plans to think about her political options through the weekend and make an announcement soon.

Supporters are gathering signatures so she'll be prepared to enter either race, she said.

Candidates who want to run in the June 12 primaries have until March 15 to submit at least 1,000 signatures for a Congressional seat and 2,000 signatures for a Senate seat.

Pingree's husband, S. Donald Sussman, is a financier and philanthropist and frequent Democratic donor who recently purchased a 5 percent equity stake in MaineToday Media through Maine Values LLC. MaineToday Media owns and operates The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Morning Sentinel in Waterville and other media outlets in Maine.

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