March 8, 2010

Husband, wife both sign up to run for same House seat

By Susan M. Cover scover@mainetoday.com
State House Bureau

AUGUSTA — Candidates are lining up to run for the Maine House as incumbents hit their term limits and challengers sign up to take their seats.

Democrats appear to be jockeying for position in House District 136, which encompasses part of Biddeford. Initially, a husband and wife both signed up to run for the same seat.

Bobby Mills and Heather Mills are on the candidate list, according to the ethics commission Web site -- but Bobby Mills says his wife is not running.

"My wife was asked by the current incumbent to run," he said. "But she's not going to continue with the paperwork."

If the others stay in the race, that still means a four-way Democratic primary.

In addition to Mills, William Moriarty, Megan Rochelo and Dennis Anglea are on the list. Current Rep. Stephen Beaudette, D-Biddeford, is termed out.

And if you're so inclined, there's still time to jump in. The deadline to sign up is a week from today, March 15.

The Biddeford race isn't the only crowded contest for the 151-seat House.

If the current field holds, there will be two primaries in District 80, which covers Wales, Litchfield and Monmouth. The seat is open because Rep. Nancy Smith, D-Monmouth, is termed out and running for Senate.

Three Republicans will square off June 8: Timothy McDonald, Melvin Newendyke and Jonathan Yellowbear. On the Democratic side, it's Raymond Simond versus Scott Wing.

Other House races to watch:

District 25 (Corinna, part of Corinth, Exeter, Newport, Plymouth): Bob Emrich, who helped lead the successful effort to overturn the state's gay-marriage law, will face Kenneth Fredette in a Republican primary. The seat is open because House Minority Leader Josh Tardy is termed out.

District 50 (Bremen, part of Jefferson, Nobleboro, Waldoboro): Incumbent Rep. Wendy Pieh, D-Bremen, will face the winner of a Republican primary that pits former Sen. Dana Dow against Henry Simmons.

District 90 (six towns and some unorganized territory in Franklin County): A Republican primary will pit Russell Black against Michael Wells. The winner will face Irving Faunce, a Democrat, in the fall. The seat is open because Rep. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, is termed out and is running for Senate.

CASINO HEARING

The public hearing on the Oxford County casino bill, L.D. 1808, is set for 1 p.m. Thursday in Room 437 of the State House.

The bill is a citizen initiative and would require the casino operator to give the state 46 percent of net slot-machine income and 16 percent of net table-game income. It lays out how much would go to each area, such as education, tribal governments, agricultural fairs and the host municipality.

The bill eventually will go to the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee. If it is not adopted by the full Legislature as written, it would go to voters in November.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA BILL RELEASED

The bill to implement the wishes of voters who approved expansion of the state's medical marijuana law has been sent to the Health and Human Services Committee for a public hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday.

The bill, L.D. 1811, clarifies who is a qualifying patient or primary care giver, and how the law can be expanded to include other debilitating medical conditions.

After the bill is passed, it will be up to the Department of Health and Human Services to write rules to govern the nonprofit dispensaries and set out more details about the program.

LOBBYING WITH FORTUNE COOKIES

The Maine Women's Lobby distributed fortune cookies to lawmakers Thursday as part of its effort to drum up support for L.D. 1665, which would require Maine employers to provide paid sick days.

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