Politics

November 7, 2012

Top Maine offices in play with new Democratic majorities

The Democratic majority party will elect a treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general Dec. 5.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — Candidates for Maine's next treasurer, attorney general and secretary of state have less than a month to lobby the 100-plus newly elected Democrats who will take control of the Legislature.

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Maine Treasurer Bruce Poliquin

Gordon Chibroski / Staff Photographer

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Former Maine Attorney General Janet Mills

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As the majority party, the Democrats in the House and Senate will likely elect three of their own on Dec. 5 to replace the Republicans who now hold the constitutional offices: Secretary of State Charlie Summers, Attorney General William Schneider and Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.

All three ran for U.S. Senate and lost -- Schneider and Poliquin in the Republican primary and Summers in Tuesday's general election. Now, all three will almost certainly lose their jobs.

Matt Dunlap, who preceded Summers as secretary of state, has been rumored to want the job back, but he wouldn't confirm or deny that Wednesday.

State Rep. Brian Bolduc, D-Auburn, said Wednesday that he has been campaigning for the post for at least two years.

Bolduc was elected Tuesday to a third consecutive term, and fifth altogether, in the House. He will have to give up that seat if he is elected secretary of state.

Schneider's predecessor as attorney general, Janet Mills, said Wednesday that she hopes to have another go as attorney general. She held the post for two years before Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2010.

Mills, a former district attorney and former state representative for Farmington and Industry, is vice chairwoman of the Maine Democratic Party.

She will compete for the job with Timothy Shannon, a partner in the Verrill Dana law firm in Portland and the chairman of the Yarmouth Town Democratic Committee.

Shannon said he has been traveling the state for the past six months to help re-elect Democrats and, though he wants to run a strictly positive campaign for attorney general, he believes "the office needs new energy."

State Auditor Neria Douglass, who must step down because of term limits, said Wednesday that she is looking to move into the treasurer's seat.

Douglass served three terms as a state senator from Auburn. She lost the seat in 2004, ran for auditor a month later and has been in that post since.

"I know a lot about the state's financial transactions. I know how to deal with the Legislature and communicate with them," she said Wednesday.

She will vie for the job against Jeremy Fischer, a former state representative from Presque Isle who now lives in Portland and works for the Bernstein Shur law firm.

Fischer, who served two years as co-chairman of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, said he still has good relationships with people in the Legislature and hopes to get the "opportunity to do some great public policy" work.

Outgoing Senate Minority Leader Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, who won a seat in the House on Tuesday, said more candidates for the three posts could "come out of the woodwork" in the coming days.

On Wednesday, Hobbins said, most newly elected candidates probably hadn't yet turned their attention to the constitutional offices.

"I don't know if everyone has started to focus on those positions because everyone is sort of recovering from exhaustion from their own campaign," he said.

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com 

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