Twelve people want to represent you in Washington; we explain who they are as the winnowing begins
1st Congressional District
When six-term US representative Tom Allen announced in May that he’d seek Susan Collins’s Senate seat next November, he basically proclaimed open season for some of Maine’s best-known politicos (as well as a few newcomers). Already some candidates have come and gone, but the field remains wide open as candidates prepare for the June 2008 primaries. Dems will be choosing between candidates who have largely similar positions on Iraq, and whose healthcare positions still need to be fleshed out. And Republicans — with one candidate whose official stance on the war won’t likely be publicly known until after the primary, and another with a dearth of political experience but a comprehensive platform — are already at a disadvantage: among candidates who have filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission, the best-funded Republican still trails the worst-funded Dem in campaign contributions (though only barely). Here’s where the crowded field stands so far.
R-Scarborough | Summersforcongress.org
Summers’s wife, Ruth, is running his campaign while the Navy Reserve lieutenant commander is stationed in Baghdad’s Green Zone. He’ll likely be overseas until late summer of 2008, after the primary, and federal rules prevent him from doing anything for his own campaign (like writing e-mails or fundraising) while he’s on active duty. So far, with Ruth at the helm, Summers’s campaign has raised $63,671, according to his Federal Election Commission filing, placing him dead last among those who have filed paperwork to run for the 1st District seat. Aside from his military experience, Summers’s resume includes stints as senator Olympia Snowe’s state director, as a state senator, and as the New England Regional Administrator for the US Small Business Administration (a post previously held by Susan Collins). In 2004, Summers challenged Tom Allen for his seat and lost, though he got about 40 percent of the vote.
R-Eliot | Teamdean08.com
Scontras is a feisty tech-businessman who counts job security and immigration issues among his top priorities. He touts technology as part of his platform, which he calls “Republican 2.0.” The next generation of Republicans, Scontras says, needs to embrace modernity within government, which will lead to better efficiency and increased personal freedom. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Scontras has put $109,861 into his coffers, which would make him the best-funded Republican candidate. Scontras compares the momentum behind his candidacy to that of Republican Jim Ogonowski, the political unknown who came close to beating Democrat-with-name-recognition Niki Tsongas in October’s special election for Massachusetts’s 5th District congressional seat, which has been held by Democrats since 1974.
D-Portland | Brennanforcongress.org
Brennan, a long-time progressive fixture in the Maine State House — his campaign chair is the current state senate president, Beth Edmonds — is struggling to raise money. As of September 30, he had just $109,908 in campaign contributions, which places him last in fundraising among Democratic candidates with FEC filings. On paper, Brennan seems like a perfect fit for the job — he served in the Maine House from 1992 to 2000, and in the state Senate from 2000 to 2006; he currently works as a policy associate at the Muskie School of Public Service, and as an adjunct professor at the University of New England; he advocates for universal health care, and has experience working on housing and social issues — but will he be able to overcome his wonkishness and stir up enthusiasm for his campaign?
: News Features
, U.S. Government, U.S. State Government, Michael Michaud, More