House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross has registered as a candidate for an open state Senate seat representing part of Portland.

Ross is in her fourth and final term as a state representative. The Portland Democrat registered to run for the Senate seat now occupied by Sen. Ben Chipman, who also cannot run for reelection this fall because of term limits.

Maine Legislature Speaker

House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross

Ross has yet to gather signatures and qualify for the primary ballot but registered as a candidate with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Elections, which tracks fundraising and spending by candidates and political action committees. Neither her campaign nor her political action committee, called A House United, has reported any fundraising for the campaign.

A spokesperson for Talbot Ross said the speaker was not available for an interview Thursday.

It’s not clear if any other Democrats will potentially run against Talbot Ross in a primary to be held June 11. Portland is a Democratic stronghold and the party’s nominees typically cruise to victory in general elections.

Talbot Ross made history as the first Black speaker of the Maine House of Representatives when she took the oath of office after the 2022 election. Her father, Gerald Talbot, was sworn in as the first Black legislator in the state 50 years before.


As speaker, Talbot Ross has championed social justice causes such as criminal justice reform, tribal sovereignty rights and a process to consider racial justice impacts of proposed laws. And she led the Maine House through the emotional debates and drama-filled votes that expanded abortion access in Maine.

Chipman is the Senate chair of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. He served six years in the House of Representatives before being elected to the Senate for the first time in 2016.

Senate District 28 consists of part of the city of Portland, including Peaks, Cliff and Great Diamond islands.

Note: The story was updated Friday, Feb. 9, to correct the number of the senate district. 

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