March 21, 2010

Republicans may benefit from Greens' campaigns

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

While they are not represented in the governor's race, Green Independents are optimistic that at least a couple of their candidates will win legislative seats.

The Greens had a representative in the House from 2002 to 2006, when Rep. John Eder of Portland served.

This year, Greens are touting 18 candidates vying for the Legislature, including three in the Senate, where the balance of power could tip away from Democrats for the first time in several years.

This year, in particular, a strong Green presence in Senate races could benefit Republicans, who are optimistic about their chances of taking control.

Democrats hold a 20-15 majority, but with open seats and a sense that public sentiment favors the GOP, they believe they might take the chamber.

"The danger for Democrats and the potential advantage for the Republicans is to split the vote more on the left and enable Republicans to get elected in those seats," said Amy Fried, a political science professor at the University of Maine in Orono.

Charlie Webster, chairman of the Maine Republican Party, said that could be particularly true in Portland, where incumbent Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, is being challenged by Republican Peter Doyle and Green Kelsey Perchinski.

"The mood of the country is definitely a factor this time," Webster said.


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