The reality of running for an open Senate seat in Maine
On February 28, 2012 At 8:01 pm
Responses : 3 Comments
The announcement that Sen. Olympia Snowe will not seek re-election couldn’t have come at a worse time for those who would seek to replace her.
Except if you’re name is Scott D’Amboise. He is the lone Republican challenger already running. And while there are four declared Democrats, none of them are well known: Cynthia Dill, Matt Dunlap, Jon Hinck, Pollard. To be brutally honest, defeating Snowe seemed such an insurmountable task that a Democratic challenge was left to the Party’s second string.
Let’s start with long-time party members, both Democrats and Republicans, who are now considering it:
The deadline to submit the 2,000 signatures required to be on the June primary is 15 March, and in reality, 2,500 signatures are required, a hedge against challenges. Either someone would need to have the ground game already working (Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, State Sen. Kevin Raye), or they would need a large personal reserve a cash that they could afford to higher a firm to collect them (Les Otten, Bruce Poliquin, Chellie Pingree). Large and personal reserve of cash – paying to gather so many signatures on such short notice would be very expensive. Others need not apply – Steve Abbot fans – I think he likes being AD. Peter Vigue’s name has been mentioned, but he told me unequivocally in 2009 that he had no desire to run for governor, and I have no reason to think he would want to run for Senate. Rep. Emily Cain? No, I don’t think so.
One “fresh face” that some speculate might run, especially given his close ties to Snowe, is Gov. Paul LePage. I don’t see it happening – in fact, I don’t see LePage running for re-election as governor in 2014.
Unenrolled candidates – and here mean persons that are already unenrolled and those who tactically leave their party:
Unenrolled candidates have until 1 June to submit 4,000 signatures (4,500 really). The pressure is on those wishing to run who are already a member of a party – they would need to leave the party by tomorrow, 29 February, in order to be able to run. Such a move would buy time for those not able to gather signatures in two weeks. Here the list gets interesting:
The Republicans: Raye, who could use the time; Abbot, cuz why not; Poliquin, because it would cost less; Education Commissioner Steve Bowen, who has ambitions; Carol Weston, who lacks the personal cash reserves, but currently works for the Koch brothers.
The Democrats: any of the four declared candidates may choose this option as an expedient; former AG Steve Rowe; and….and this has been the problem with the Democratic challenge.
The independents: the obvious front-runner is Eliot Cutler. Rosa Scarcelli, while technically a Democrat, really ran as an outsider in the 2010 gubernatorial race. The Cutler Files scandal has left her radioactive as a candidate. Kevin Scott will enter – he can explain why himself.
More to follow.