Voters will choose party nominees for 34 seats in the Maine Legislature in the July 14 primary, and Democrats will be making most of the decisions.

All 35 seats in the Maine Senate and all 151 seats in the House of Representatives are up for election in 2020, and this month’s primary – rescheduled from June because of the coronavirus pandemic – will feature 34 contests in which voters select party nominees for the Nov. 3 general election.

Democrats will pick candidates for 20 House seats and five Senate seats, while Republicans will choose candidates for six House seats and three Senate seats. In the current Legislature Democrats hold healthy majorities, with 21 of the 35 Senate seats and 89 of the 151 House seats.

Ranked-choice voting may come into play in seven of the Democratic Senate or House primaries, each of which features three candidates.

The most closely watched primary may be a Republican contest in Senate District 8, which includes parts of Hancock and Penobscot counties, between incumbent Sen. Kimberley Rosen of Bucksport and her challenger, state Rep. Larry Lockman of Bradley.

Lockman, who has served four House terms and cannot seek re-election because of term limits, has gained notoriety in Maine politics for his ultraconservative views and for statements he’s made against abortion, immigrants and welfare recipients. Rosen, who is seeking her fourth term in the Senate and previously served four terms in the House, has a solidly conservative voting record, but is known as a moderate willing to work with Democrats on key issues.

Both easily won their re-election campaigns in 2018.

The race between Rosen and Lockman, deep in the state’s more northern and rural 2nd Congressional District, could well be a bellwether for the upcoming presidential election in November. President Trump won the district in 2016 by 10 points, and Lockman has solidly aligned himself with Trump’s policies.

Both Rosen and Lockman are running privately financed campaigns, and as of June 30 Lockman had raised $11,561, about $4,000 more than Rosen. However, both candidates still had about $7,000 cash on hand going into the primary vote.

Rosen points to her track record of collaboration, work on legislation to help victims of domestic violence and veterans, and says that Lockman did not sponsor a single bill that became law during his eight years in the House.

“I get along with everybody and that’s really important if you are trying to get bills passed,” Rosen said. “People work with me because they can trust me.”

Lockman, asked to describe his biggest accomplishment as a House member, pointed to his support for former Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s repayment of $184 million in state debt to Maine’s hospitals.

“I’m proud of the role I played in pushing back against attempts to derail or water down the bill,” Lockman said in an email. He described himself as “the only pro-life conservative in this race, and I’m the only candidate Paul LePage has endorsed for this Senate seat.”

Democrats in the district will choose between two Brewer residents, Trudy Scee and Beverly Uhlenhake, who lost to Rosen in 2018.

In another noteworthy Republican contest in the 2nd District, voters in Senate District 4 will choose between incumbent Sen. Paul Davis of Sangerville and challenger Douglas Thomas of Ripley. Thomas previously held the District 4 seat while Davis served in the House.

High-profile races for Democrats include the contest for the Senate District 11 seat being vacated by Sen. Erin Herbig of Belfast, who has been hired as that community’s city manager. Glenn Curry, Charles Pattavina and Robyn Stanicki are all seeking her seat, which was previously held by a Republican.

In Senate District 29, which includes parts of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, Democrats will choose among South Portlanders Eben Rose and Sari Greene and state Rep. Anne Carney of Cape Elizabeth. Carney has served one term in House District 60.

Two veteran Democratic lawmakers are also featured in the Senate District 24 primary, where voters will pick a candidate to run for the seat being left open by Sen. Brownie Carson, a Democrat from Harpswell. Running in that race are two Brunswick residents: four-term incumbent Rep. Mattie Daughtry and Stan Gerzofsky, who has served four terms each in the Senate and House.

Daughtry cited her legislative work on college affordability and college completion, advocacy for student issues and student rights, and environmental protection.

“I’m really proud that even during the administration of LePage I was able to get bills passed,” said Daughtry, the co-owner of a microbrewery. “I’m the kind of lawmaker who can reach across the aisle and find a way to get to the common good.”

Gerzofsky highlights his involvement in several economic development projects. including the establishment of Brunswick Landing at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, a campus for Southern Maine Community College at the former Navy base and bringing Amtrak passenger rail service to Brunswick from Portland.

“We have 2,000 workers out there that we didn’t have and the payroll is much higher than it was when the Navy was here,” Gerzofsky said of Brunswick Landing. “We brought companies in from around the world and around the country.”

He said he was proud of his experience and work on behalf of constituents.

“My opponent has said I’m a dinosaur and at 75 years old, I guess I am a dinosaur but we need leadership that’s willing to join the question instead of just mimicking what other people are saying in some flowery speech,” he said.

The July 14 primary will also feature a number of uncontested legislative seats. In the House, Democrats have no candidates in six districts, while Republicans have none in 11 districts. In the Senate, Democrats have a candidate for every seat, but Republicans will be unrepresented in two districts in Portland.

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