Politics

December 3, 2012

New slate of prominent Maine officials facing vote

Glenn Adams / The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — The list of candidates for four of Maine's top state offices will get shorter on Tuesday when newly elected lawmakers gather by political party and nominate their choices. And the final winners may be some familiar faces who want to take back their old jobs.

It's virtually guaranteed that all three Republicans occupying the so-called constitutional offices - Attorney General William Schneider, Secretary of State Charlie Summers and Treasurer Bruce Poliquin - will lose their jobs now that the Democrats have recaptured majorities in the House and Senate.

In fact, Summers and Poliquin opted not to seek re-election because of the Democrats' newly regained majorities in the House, where the count is 89-58 and four independents, and Senate, where it's 19-15-1.

Auditor Neria Douglass, a Democrat, is barred by term limits from extending her eight-year tenure, so she's running for treasurer. She faces Jeremy Fischer, a Portland attorney and former legislator who was House chair of the Appropriations Committee in 2007-08. The Republican incumbent treasurer, Poliquin, is not asking that his name be placed in nomination by his party.

The treasurer's office oversees the state's debt and cash management, trust fund administration and unclaimed property administration.

In the attorney general's race, Janet Mills, who held the post when Democrats were last in power in 2009-10, wants her old job back. She faces a challenge by trial lawyer Timothy Shannon of Yarmouth, a newcomer on the political scene who said he's "thrilled by the level of support I've received. This is a moment for a fresh start."

The office oversees prosecutions of major offenses and handles civil litigation that involves the state.

Before becoming Maine's first woman to serve as attorney general, Mills served in the Maine House. She's also served for 15 years as district attorney for Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin counties.

The Republican incumbent attorney general, William Schneider, is expected to ask his party to place his name in nomination for a new term.

Matthew Dunlap, a former secretary of state, is also seeking his old office in a race against fellow Democrat Brian Bolduc of Auburn. A former four-term House member, Dunlap later served three terms as secretary of state, an office that oversees state elections, motor vehicles and corporations, then ran in the 2012 Democratic U.S. Senate primary.

Bolduc was elected to the House of Representatives just out of college at the age of 22 and has served four terms since 1997, "gaining a fundamental understanding of the workings of state government as a result," he says in a letter seeking Democratic lawmakers' support. He's made protection of voter rights a theme of his campaign.

Summers opted not to seek another term, his spokeswoman said Monday.

With Douglass leaving the auditor's post, at least two candidates have come forward to replace her, Democrats say. They include Pola Buckley, principal auditor in the state auditor's office, and Gail Chase, a former state auditor who previously served as a House member from China.

 

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