Normal, healthy people are not consumed with thinking about the 2018 Maine gubernatorial election. But not everyone in Maine fits that description.

November might seem like a long way off, but we are only four months away from the June 12 primary, where 11 Democrats and six Republicans are battling for two places on the November ballot.

Getting noticed in a crowded primary is tough, especially when there aren’t many policy differences between the contenders. Two candidates, both on the Democratic side, got news last week that could help them make it to the general election. They were Janet Mills and Adam Cote.

For Mills, the good news was that her campaign was endorsed by EMILY’s List, a national organization that raises money for Democratic women who are pro-choice on abortion.

Mills is already considered the front-runner for her party’s nomination. She’s the most experienced candidate in the race and the best known, serving as attorney general as well as a state legislator and district attorney for three central Maine counties.

She has had years to build relationships with the kind of organizations that turn out voters on Election Day. So, is it a big deal for her to get an endorsement from a national group, especially one that only looks at Democratic women?

In this case, it is.

Even though two-time Maine Democratic congressional candidate Emily Cain works for them, this EMILY is not someone’s name. It’s an acronym for “early money is like yeast,” a reference to the group’s strategy of helping women like Mills emerge from crowded primary fields.

And EMILY’s List is not just a political action committee that donates to campaigns. It’s a network of donors who are committed to supporting whichever candidates the organization identifies. Instead of cashing one check, Mills will be getting contributions from strangers all over the country, people who otherwise would have never gotten involved in a Maine race.

If there was any fear that she will be out-raised or outspent, at least in the primary, it should be put to rest. She trailed Cote in the in the finance reports filed in January, largely because his campaign had an earlier start.

Not only will Mills go into the TV air wars this spring better known than Cote, she may also have more money.

But Cote got some good news last week, too, although his is not such a sure thing. The people’s veto on ranked-choice voting appears to have enough signatures to get on the ballot, which not only gives people a chance to restore the Legislature-delayed reform measure that voters backed in 2016, but also makes this year’s primary a ranked-choice election. (Disclosure: One of my daughters has worked for the Cote campaign.)

Instead of just picking their favorite candidate, voters will be given a chance to mark their second favorite, third favorite and so on, ranking all 11 Democrats if they want.

If the leading candidate gets less than half the vote, the last-place candidate is eliminated and the second-place votes of his or her supporters are allocated to the survivors. The process continues until a candidate gets over the 50 percent mark.

Critics call this complicated math, but what could help Cote is a little old-fashioned addition.

Cote has a great story: He grew up in a mill town, and he served in the Maine Army National Guard in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a beautiful family with five children.

But Cote does not have a lot of history with the kind of activist Democrats who make up the bulk of the voters in primary elections. He was bashed as a closet Republican during the only other time he ran for office (the 2008 1st Congressional District primary won by Chellie Pingree) and that will likely happen again if Cote is viewed as a threat.

But having this question on the ballot could change things.

Ranked-choice voting is the cause backed by good-government reformers, political moderates and nonpartisan organizations such as the League of Women Voters.

Some of its supporters are activist Democrats, but many are not. They have been well-organized and motivated enough to get this question on the ballot not once, but twice.

It’s safe to assume that many of those people will show up on primary day to vote, including some who are not members of a political party. If they want to, they can join a party at the polls and vote in a primary.

Will ranked-choice-voting fans pass up a chance to fill out the state’s first ever ranked-choice ballot? And would those people vote the same way as hard-core Democrats?

The answer to both questions is probably not. Could Cote or some other candidate be the beneficiary? It’s possible.

We’ll know the answer soon. There is still a lot that could happen before the normal and healthy among us tune in.

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