December 3, 2012

Familiar faces seek Maine's top political offices

The three Republicans who now hold the state's constitutional offices will likely lose their jobs.

The Associated Press

AUGUSTA – The list of candidates for four of the top state offices will get shorter Tuesday when newly elected lawmakers gather by political party and nominate their choices. The winners may be familiar faces.

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Neria Douglass, above, and Jeremy Fischer, below, are those seeking the Maine state treasurer's job.


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Jeremy Fischer

Courtesy photo

All three Republicans who hold the constitutional offices – Attorney General William Schneider, Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Treasurer Bruce Poliquin – stand to lose their jobs, now that the Democrats have recaptured majorities in the House and Senate.

Summers and Poliquin opted not to seek re-election because of Democratic majorities in the House, where the count is 89-58 and four independents, and the Senate, where it's 19-15-1.

Auditor Neria Douglass, a Democrat, is barred by term limits from extending her eight-year tenure, so she's running for treasurer. She faces Jeremy Fischer, a Portland lawyer and former legislator who was House chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2007-2008.

The treasurer's office oversees the state's debt and cash management, and administration of the trust fund and unclaimed property.

Janet Mills, who was attorney general when Democrats were last in power, in 2009-2010, wants the job back. She faces a challenge by trial lawyer Timothy Shannon of Yarmouth, a political newcomer who said he's "thrilled by the level of support I've received. This is a moment for a fresh start."

Before becoming the first woman to serve as Maine's attorney general, Mills served in the Maine House. She also served for 15 years as district attorney for Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties.

Republican Schneider is expected to ask his party to place his name in nomination for a new term.

Matthew Dunlap, a former secretary of state, is also seeking his former office, in a race against fellow Democrat Brian Bolduc of Auburn. A former four-term House member, Dunlap later served three terms as secretary of state, overseeing state elections, motor vehicles and corporations. He then ran in the 2012 Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

Bolduc was elected to the House just out of college, at age 22, and has served four terms since 1997, "gaining a fundamental understanding of the workings of state government," he said in a letter seeking Democratic lawmakers' support. He has made protection of voter rights a theme of his campaign.

With Douglass leaving the auditor's post, at least two candidates have come forward to replace her, Democrats say. They are Pola Buckley, principal auditor in the state auditor's office, and Gail Chase, a former state auditor who was a House member from China.


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