February 12

Frary eyeing GOP nomination for Senate District 17

Gov. Paul LePage sent a letter to incumbent Tom Saviello saying he did not ask the Tea Party candidate to challenge him for the Senate seat.

By Kaitlin Schroeder kschroeder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

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Legislative candidates for the seat will run under new redistricting for District 17, which had been District 18. It now includes Jay, Mercer, Smithfield, Vienna, Rome, Belgrade, Fayette, Mount Vernon and all of Franklin County. Before redistricting, the district included Readfield and Wayne and did not include Jay.

Dunlap ran against Saviello in 2012. Saviello won, 12,723-7844. He also garnered 60 percent of the vote when he ran against Democrat Ann Woloson for the seat in 2010. Before that, he represented District 90 in the House from 2002 to 2010.

Dunlap, 70, said she hadn’t expected to run again but felt compelled to do so because of limited interest in the position by other Democrats. The retired teacher, who runs the Rangeley farmers’ market, said area Democrats had a meeting on Sunday and no one had offered to run.

“So I said I would,” Dunlap said. “I think in an election, you should always give people a choice. If you have an uncontested seat, that’s not an election.”

She is in the process of petitioning for the nomination.

Dunlap said she’s heard the rumors circulating about a possible three-way race with Saviello as an independent, but said she won’t make guesses about how he’ll respond to Frary.

“Tom is very popular. If it truly were a three-way race, well, Tom is very popular,” she said. “It is certainly interesting. Maine likes to have interesting politics.”

Sen. Rod Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, said Tuesday he hadn’t heard anything from Saviello about his intentions in the race, nor did he know much about Frary.

“I know Tom quite well and have worked with him for four years. He’s a great legislator,” Whittemore said. “I will say whoever runs against him is going to have his or her work cut out for them.”

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252 kschroeder@centralmaine.com

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