With a convention at the end of May, a primary June 10 and the general election in November, Maine Democrats are revving up for Sunday’s caucuses ”“ urging their fellow Democrats to caucus with them and make their voices heard.

While Republicans have been caucusing on various weekends since late January, Democrats prefer to caucus statewide on one day ”“ this year it’s Sunday, March 2. In case of severe weather, the alternate date is March 9; times and locations won’t change, according to state Democratic party officials.

Caucuses are when Democrats choose delegates to the state convention and to the county committee ”“ and hear from candidates running for office.

“We try to get everyone energized and informed,” said Anne Langlois, convener for the Old Orchard Beach caucus.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant, in a recent statement, said this election season, Democrats have one of the strongest tickets in the party’s history.

“Mainers have had enough of the current leadership and are ready to turn the page,” he said.

Gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud is excepted to speak at the combined Biddeford, Dayton and Saco caucus, set for Fairfield School, at 75 Beach St. in Saco. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m., with Michaud scheduled to speak at 5 p.m. Candidates for the U.S. Senate, House and state and county offices have also been invited to say a few words.

Biddeford caucus convener Priscilla McGuire said it is her understanding this will be the first time the three communities have caucused together, though Saco and Dayton have apparently done so in the past.

She’s hoping for a good turnout, as is Langlois in Old Orchard Beach.

Back in 2008, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were vying for the Democratic nod in the presidential primary, 300 people turned out in the seaside community to caucus, Langlois said. President Obama was uncontested in the 2012 caucus, and about 30 Democrats turned out, she said.

Some other towns are teaming up to hold caucuses together: Buxton and Hollis will caucus at the Buxton Town Hall; and Arundel, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells will caucus at Kennebunk Town Hall.

The caucuses, Langlois said, can be fun. The main objective is for Maine to retain its Democratic House and Senate “and to get Mike Michaud elected governor,” she said.

Besides the general caucus business, the gatherings offer an opportunity for people to meet candidates running for office, said Joe Hanslip, convener of the Sanford caucus.

Those attending the caucus in Saco, as well as the Sanford caucus, are asked to bring new or nearly new coats, gloves, hats, flannel and thermal shirts and socks to help homeless veterans.

Anyone who is not enrolled in another party and any new voter who will turn 18 by Election Day, Nov. 4 may register at the caucus and participate.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]



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