Grass-roots passion is important. "We win or lose on effort," said chairman Grant in an interview, adding that 2 to 3 percent of a vote "comes from shoe leather."

On the other hand, Maine Democrats have some things going for them.

Pingree and Michaud will be hard to dislodge. Overwhelmingly, incumbents are re-elected. Pingree's superrich husband, Donald Sussman, probably can match, if necessary, whatever dollars the Republicans and their corporate friends throw against her. Michaud is already far ahead of State Senate president Kevin Raye, his presumed GOP challenger, in fundraising.

Despite the long-ailing economy, the personally popular Obama is neck and neck with Romney in the polls.

Then there's LePage. He has outraged Democrats and others with his immoderate remarks and Tea Party policies. That's whom Maine Democrats will be running against, said Robert Talbot, a Bangor delegate.

But on November 6, LePage's name will not be on the ballot.

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