July 31, 2012

Election 2012: Cynthia Dill trumpets values, makes waves

By Edward D. Murphy emurphy@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Cynthia Dill

File Photo/John Ewing

20120331_Debate

Cynthia Dill

File Photo/Gordon Chibroski

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ASK A QUESTION

CYNTHIA DILL will answer your questions live online at pressherald.com today at noon.

CYNTHIA DILL

PARTY: Democrat

AGE: 47

RESIDENCE: Cape Elizabeth

FAMILY: Married to Tom Clarke, one son (Harrison, 17) and one daughter (Isabel, 15)

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree, University of Vermont; law degree, Northeastern School of Law

OCCUPATION: Lawyer

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Won a seat on Cape Elizabeth Town Council in 2005; elected state representative in 2006, and re-elected in 2008 and 2010; won special election for state Senate in August 2011.

ON THE ISSUES

Do you support President Obama’s health care law? Yes

Do you support a balanced budget amendment? No

Would you support a tax increase for the wealthy? Yes

Would you vote to extend the nation’s debt limit? Yes

Do you support legalizing gay marriage? Yes

Do you support legal access to abortion? Yes

What should Congress be doing to create jobs and improve the economy?

“Directing resources away from excessive military spending and subsidies to big business and towards quality public education, making college affordable, investing in research and development and public infrastructure projects such as roads, bridges, rail, Internet and public places like libraries, schools and parks.”

NOTABLE ENDORSEMENTS

Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig, D-Cape Elizabeth; former Rep. Marilyn Canavan, D-Waterville; John Naylor, owner of Rosemont Market; Women’s Action for New Directions; DAPAC.

But rather than stay in the Maine Senate and seek a full term, Dill set her sights on the U.S. Senate.

She entered the race earlier this year, before Sen. Olympia Snowe's startling announcement that she would leave at the end of her term and forgo what most observers considered a relatively easy re-election.

Dill said she was concerned that Snowe, who was perceived as probably the most moderate Republican in the Senate, was trying to placate the conservative wing of her party by supporting continuation of the Bush tax cuts and opposing Obama's health care reform.

"I did feel that she was moving to the right," Dill said. "She wasn't making choices that reflected Maine values."

Dill was at the State House in Augusta when she learned Snowe wouldn't run for re-election. She was elated – briefly.

"I ran out to the car and my heart was pounding," she said, "and it lasted probably less than an hour before reality hit that now everyone would be getting in."

In – and out. Both of Maine's Democratic representatives in Washington seemed like they were going to run for the Senate seat. Former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci took out nominating papers. So Dill and others considered running for the House of Representatives instead.

Then former Gov. Angus King said he would run for Senate as an independent, and almost everyone went back to their original positions.

Of the four candidates in the Democratic Senate primary, Dill has seemed to be the one most eager to take on King, who leads in early opinion polls.

"It was pretty opportunistic on his part," Dill said of King's decision to enter the race. But observers think he's well-positioned to win.

Former state Sen. Ethan Strimling has lamented that King's entry leaves his party – Democrats – facing the possibility of finishing third again for a statewide office: state Sen. Libby Mitchell, the Democratic candidate, finished a distant third in the 2010 gubernatorial race behind LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.

Asked to handicap the Democratic primary, Colby College political scientist L. Sandy Maisel said, "My general feeling is, it doesn't matter."

None of the candidates in either party, he said, "has the ability to be taken seriously by the public to seriously contest Gov. King."

Outside of their home areas, Maisel said, none of the candidates, including Dill, has done much to raise their visibility.

"What we know about her as a candidate is virtually nothing," and that's largely true of her challengers for the nomination, he said.

But Dill argues that will change if she's the nominee, because she will be willing to challenge King.

She noted that some of his decisions as governor, such as vetoing an increase in the minimum wage, will make it hard for King to appeal to liberals.

And, like many of the Republican candidates, she's critical of King for saying he doesn't know which party he will caucus with – the key to getting committee assignments in the Senate – or that he may not caucus with either.

"I don't tolerate mind games," Dill said. "The fact that Angus King is basing his entire campaign on not telling voters where he stands means it's going to be a very interesting campaign."

 

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at: emurphy@pressherald.com

 

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