Friday, March 7, 2014
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Shenna Bellows is all smiles as she launches her campaign to challenge Sen. Susan Collins with a press conference at Rising Tide Brewery in Portland on Wednesday.
John Patriquin / Staff Photographer
Bellows’ constitutional messages are likely to resonate with some liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans who are angry with what they see as repeated government intrusions on constitutional rights since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
As executive director of the civil liberties union, Bellows was often front and center during legislative debates over constitutional issues. Her high-profile role in the battle to legalize same-sex marriage also earned her name recognition in progressive political circles.
Sandy Maisel, a veteran political science professor at Colby College, said Bellows has a “distinguished career” representing the interests of people whose believe their civil liberties are violated or in jeopardy.
“By all accounts, she has been very good at it,” Maisel said. “It’s important to have competitive elections and I think she will be a credible ... opponent against Susan Collins.”
That said, Maisel called Collins “the odds-on favorite” and said the incumbent is “probably in as strong a position as any Republican across the country,” in part because of her efforts to end this month’s government shutdown.
Melcher, at UMaine-Farmington, noted that Collins angered some on the left and the far right for her role in the shutdown debate. Democrats blasted her for opposing stripped-down Democratic proposals to reopen the government while tea party Republicans criticized her for not joining the effort to use the budget to defund the Affordable Care Act.
Maine’s political parties have, to date, focused largely on the 2014 races for governor and the 2nd District, which has an open seat for the first time in more than a decade. And unless Collins appears vulnerable, neither the state parties nor the national parties are likely to devote large sums to the race.
Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at: