May 17, 2010

Democrats gather for first convention held in Lewiston

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA – Democrats will gather Friday and Saturday in Lewiston for their convention, which will feature a keynote speech by former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine.

UPCOMING EVENTS

TODAY
6 p.m. Bruce Poliquin will host a town hall at the American Legion Hall, 21 College Ave., Waterville
TUESDAY
6 p.m. Democratic Gubernatorial Forum at PeoplesChoice Credit Union, 23 Industrial Park Road, Saco. Democratic gubernatorial candidates will discuss business-related topics with members of the Biddeford-Saco and Old Orchard Beach chambers of commerce, as well as businesses connected to Heart of Biddeford and Saco Spirit.
6 p.m. Bruce Poliquin will host a town hall at the Bridgton Community Center, 15 Depot St.

On Friday, activists will gather for workshops on campaigning and fundraising run by Democracy for America. That night, official opening ceremonies will include a tribute to Gov. John Baldacci, who will finish up his eight-year tenure in January.

Early Saturday, the Democrats will hold a breakfast panel on women in politics that will feature House Speaker Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven, and three other female lawmakers, said the party's executive director, Mary Erin Casale.

The four Democrats running to replace Baldacci -- Steven Rowe, Patrick McGowan, Rosa Scarcelli and Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell -- will each get a chance Saturday to impress delegates and guests with speeches and presentations.

Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, is scheduled to speak after the candidates, which should be around 4 p.m.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the convention at the Androscoggin Bank Colise?Casale said it's the first year the convention has been held in Lewiston -- a break from Augusta and Portland locations.

"We're really looking forward to working with Lewiston and emphasizing how critical they are to this election," she said. "They are the second largest population area in the state. We want to continue to keep them blue."

Unlike at the Republican convention, where Knox County delegates put in place an entirely new platform, Casale said she doesn't expect any major platform fights among the Democrats.

WHERE'S THE PARTY?

Each of the four Democrats running for governor has chosen a different location to welcome supporters Friday night in Lewiston.

Mitchell will be at Gritty McDuff's, Scarcelli will be at Holly's Restaurant, McGowan will be at O'Shea's Irish Restaurant, and Rowe will be at Espo's Trattoria.

Parties are expected to start around 9 p.m., after a welcome reception sponsored by the Androscoggin County Democratic Committee.

ABBOTT GETS TRIBAL SUPPORT

Passamaquoddy Tribal Gov. William Nicholas and Lt. Gov. Joseph Socobasin said last week they are switching parties so they can vote for Republican Steve Abbott in the primary.

The leaders said they liked Abbott's "positions on the economy, his respect for Maine's outdoor heritage, and his commitment to improving the business climate in Maine."

MILLS STARTS 'TOUR OF DUTY'

Republican state Sen. Peter Mills, a Vietnam veteran, is launching a tour of veterans centers and homes over the next several days, according to his campaign.

He began last week at Togus VA Medical Center near Augusta, and will continue this week with visits to facilities in Caribou, Scarborough, Bangor and back to Augusta.

Mills fought on Navy destroyers in Vietnam and his daughter, Kate, is currently on active duty in the Army.

SURVEY: CANDIDATE WHO?

Maine polling firm Critical Insights surveyed 600 likely primary voters and found that 42 percent of them couldn't name one candidate running for governor.

Critical Insights President MaryEllen FitzGerald told the Associated Press the results indicate the race is wide open.

It leads me to conclude that we're fortunate that ballots list all the names.

In case a pollster calls you, here's who will be on the June 8 ballot: Republicans are Bruce Poliquin, Les Otten, Peter Mills, Paul LePage, Matt Jacobson, Bill Beardsley and Steve Abbott; Democrats are Rosa Scarcelli, Steven Rowe, Elizabeth Mitchell and Patrick McGowan. Numerous independent candidates are likely to enter the race after party primaries end.

PARTY SWITCH DEADLINE

If you're planning to vote on June 8 but you don't like the choices available in your party, you can switch. But you must do so by Friday.

You need to file an application with your municipal registrar to make a switch. If you are unenrolled, you can just show up on Election Day, enroll in a party, and then vote in that party's primary.

VOTER GUIDE AVAILABLE

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced recently the Maine Citizen's Guide to the Referendum Election is now available.

The guide, which can be found at municipal offices and libraries, explains in detail the five ballot questions that will be before voters in June. It also explains what a "yes" or "no" vote means, which is important this time around because Question 1 is a people's veto, so it can get confusing.

The guide is also available online at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/citizensguide.pdf.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: scover@centralmaine.com

 

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