Some Maine delegates to the Democratic National Convention who firmly supported Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for their party’s presidential nomination say they are warming to the candidacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in November.

Others say they are not quite ready to throw their support behind Clinton and are pledging to help continue the political movement that Sanders started.

In Tuesday’s roll call vote at the convention in Philadelphia, the Maine delegation cast 18 votes for Sanders and 12 for Clinton, a reflection of Maine’s caucus results last March.

Clinton went on to win the Democratic Party nomination Tuesday, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to lead a major political party into a presidential election.

Diane Denk, a delegate from Kennebunk, started off working for Clinton’s campaign, but “jumped ship” last year and became a champion for Sanders after she realized he was a lot more than just some “fringe candidate.”

“It’s a very bittersweet victory,” Denk said of Clinton’s nomination. “We knew when we came to the convention what the outcome would be, but it still breaks your heart.”


Denk said she will fully support Clinton because her positions on various issues are not that far from Sanders’.

“There is a lot of overlap between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I don’t feel like I am selling out,” Denk said Tuesday evening.

But Sanders delegate Seth Berner of Portland remains unconvinced Clinton will be able to defeat Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Berner said he’s disappointed in the way that Sanders bowed out of the race.

“Bernie Sanders appeared to be the stronger candidate in November. By giving up, he gave away the opportunity to make the Democratic Party stronger,” Berner said Tuesday evening.

Berner said he can’t support Clinton now, but doesn’t rule out the possibility that she can change his mind.

“Right now, I am feeling a great deal of disappointment, a fear for the future, and a feeling of betrayal” by Sanders, Berner said.


Berner said the prospect of a Trump presidency “terrifies” him because Trump does not represent the needs of working families and individuals.

“He could cause terrific harm,” Berner said. “The idea of having a president who has no clue about what life is like for an ordinary person is frightening.”

Diane Russell of Portland, who surprised her own delegation Monday when she was invited by the Sanders’ campaign to address the convention about a proposal to reduce the role of superdelegates, has been a long time Sanders supporter. Russell said she will now support Clinton.

“I may prefer Bernie Sanders and what he brings to the table, but I would never take away from the fact that a woman has finally been nominated to be president. There is no question she broke the glass ceiling,” Russell said. “I’ve always been grateful for the work she has done on behalf of girls and women not just in Maine but around the world.”

Russell called first lady Michelle Obama’s convention speech Monday evening “breathtaking.”

“She set a tone of class and dignity and as several people said, it was a speech for the ages,” Russell added.


Cokie Giles of Brewer said the movement that Sanders started on behalf of the working class and less fortunate will not end.

“I know that the movement is going to continue,” Giles said. “Bernie never promised he would change everything by himself. It’s the movement that will.

“My focus now will be to continue the movement and to give these young millenials hope and something to strive for,” said Giles, a registered nurse.

When asked if she was warming up to Clinton, Giles replied, “Hell, no.”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett introduced the Maine delegation during the roll call by making a few remarks about his home state.

“Known for our rugged independence and relentless Yankee work ethic, Mainers stand up for their neighbors,” Bartlett said. “Our traditions run as deep as our forests. We are loggers and lobstermen, farmers and fishermen. Home of Acadia, Longfellow, L.L. Bean and Stephen King, Maine has not voted for a Republican (for president) in nearly three decades. As Maine goes, so goes the nation, and so goes the nation for a Democratic president.”

Clinton needed 2,382 votes to win the party’s nomination. She received 2,842.

Katie Baker, a spokeswoman for the Maine Democratic Party, indicated that the Maine delegation voted pretty much as expected, with Troy Jackson of Allagash being the only superdelegate to cast a vote for Sanders.

The other superdelegates – U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of North Haven, Peggie Schaffer of Vassalboro, Maggie Allen of Madison, and Bartlett – voted for Clinton.

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