Former Portland Mayor Michael Brennan returned to the public eye Wednesday to endorse a candidate for state senate in the upcoming Democratic primary election.

Brennan, who has kept a low profile since being unseated as mayor, took the podium on Portland’s waterfront to announce his support for Rep. Ben Chipman, who is running for the Senate District 27 seat on June 14. Chipman is competing against political newcomer Chuck Radis and Rep. Diane Russell.

Brennan became Portland’s first first popularly elected mayor in 88 years when he came out on top in a 15-candidate race in 2011. But he gradually lost the support of much of the City Council and then lost the mayor’s seat last November to Mayor Ethan Strimling.

Since leaving public office, Brennan has been working in fundraising and organizational development for Common Dreams, a Portland-based nonprofit progressive news website.

He plans to teach in the social work department at the University of Southern Maine in the fall, he said.

But, aside from serving as a delegate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at the Maine Democratic State Convention last month, Brennan had taken a backseat in the local political scene until Wednesday.

Asked how he thought City Hall had been running since he left, Brennan said City Manager Jon Jennings was living up to his expectations from when he was hired a year ago, during Brennan’s reign. “He’s been addressing a number of significant issues,” he said, noting changes in the permitting process as one example.

As for Strimling, he said, it’s too early into the new mayor’s term to give an evaluation of his performance. “It’s still a wait-and-see situation,” Brennan said.

Speaking to a sparse crowd in Bell Buoy Park just before noon on Wednesday, Brennan said his own experience as a state legislator and as Portland mayor, working in conjunction with Chipman, led to his endorsement.

“I think Ben Chipman is the most qualified person,” he said. “He was very responsive to city issues,” namely those related to substance abuse, school funding and the university system.

Chipman was one of the few officeholders in Portland who did not endorse a candidate in the hard-fought mayor’s race last fall between Brennan and Strimling. Russell, on the other hand, endorsed Strimling.

Chipman, Radis and Russell are running for the seat being vacated by former Senate president and current Senate minority leader, Democrat Justin Alfond, who is stepping down because of term limits. Alfond said Wednesday he will not be making an endorsement in the race.

Chipman also received endorsements Wednesday from former legislator and Maine Democratic Party chairman Ben Dudley and Portland Reps. Peter Stuckey and Denise Harlow.

Also, he has been endorsed by Portland City Councilor Belinda Ray, former Portland City Councilor Will Gorham and Portland school board members Sarah Thompson, Anna Trevorrow, John Eder, Holly Seeliger, Stephanie Hatzenbuehler and Marnie Marrione.

Russell on Wednesday released a list of legislators from around the state who are endorsing her for the seat. They are: Democratic Sens. Linda Valentino, Bill Diamond and Jim Dill and Reps. Donna Doore, Scott Hamman, Bobbie Beavers, Ryan Fecteau, Ralph Chapman and Andrew McLean, as well as Independent Rep. Jim Campbell and former Democratic Rep. Lisa Villa.

Radis said Wednesday he has received endorsements from Democratic Portland Rep. Dick Farnsworth, Portland City Councilor Ed Suslovic and Kate Snyder, former chair of the Portland school board.

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