D.C. wannabes

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  December 26, 2007


D-Portland | Adamcote.com
Cote is one of two candidates in this race with direct Iraq-war ties (the other is Summers; there are only two Iraq veterans in the US House today). Cote, a Pierce Atwood lawyer and president of the Maine Young Democrats, served in Iraq with Maine's 133rd Engineer Battalion from 2004-5. He says he has "real-world experience, versus people who spend their lives running for office." He favors withdrawing from Iraq, but says he would not cut war funding because that would amount to not supporting the troops. With $209,845 raised as of September 30, the 33-year-old ranks fourth in fundraising, but has a few things going for him, including the endorsement of the head of Maine's National Guard. And conservative Dems may take a shine to him; some say he's a Republican in Dem's clothing — and he was formerly a GOP member.


D-South Berwick | Marklawrence.org
Lawrence, who got schooled when he went up against senator Olympia Snowe in 2000, is attempting a more realistic feat this time around. The elected district attorney for York County served as a popular state senate president in the late 1990s, and he currently ranks second in fundraising, with $225,779 brought in as of September 30. He would vote to halt military funding if it meant that troop withdrawal from Iraq would start immediately, he emphasizes protecting Constitutional rights, and he supports holding impeachment hearings for President Bush and Veep Cheney.


This 52-year-old pediatrician/former Navy physician/dark horse is a latecomer to the race (he announced his candidacy on October 26) who opposes the war in Iraq, and emphasizes health care issues. Meister has a lot of ground to make up as he scrambles to raise both money and public awareness about his candidacy — to those ends, he hired a campaign manager, and established a campaign Web page in December. Meister is fond of the catchphrase: “I’m not a politician, I’m a pediatrician.”


D-North Haven | Chelliepingree.com
Pingree, the presumed front-runner and the only woman in the race, leads the pack in fundraising, according to her FEC filing — with $480,045, she has more than double the contributions of any other candidate. Part of that is due to Pingree’s widespread name recognition. The former president of the DC-based Common Cause (a progressive organization that works on issues like voting rights and campaign-finance laws) has brought in sizeable out-of-state donations; as a former state senate president and majority leader, she is also well-known locally. Pingree lost against Susan Collins in 2002, but that was a different race: the political climate was much different, especially for an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War, and she was competing for a more prestigious seat against a popular incumbent. Comparatively, this open-seat House race may seem like a breeze, especially now that her positions on Iraq and universal health care are significantly more mainstream.


D-Portland | Ethan08.com
Strimling is a suave state senator, the executive director of the social service agency Portland West, and a former Congressional aide (to former Democratic rep Tom Andrews). He’s popular with his Portland constituents (despite originally being from New York), and he’s espoused a populist message, à la John Edwards, that highlights the growing income gap between America’s rich and poor. He took his time to officially announce that he would run for the 1st District seat (he did so at the end of September, while Brennan, Cote, Lawrence, and Pingree announced during the summer), raising money all the while. Now he’s just behind Mark Lawrence, with $224,044 raised. He’s also been endorsed by several leading Dems, which gives him some significant political horse (donkey) power. There’s little doubt that the former thespian (he briefly attended Julliard) enjoys the spotlight — he and Republican candidate Dean Scontras scuffled earlier this month over immigration.

US Senate
Political observers count this race as one of 2008’s most important, and it’s sure to be closely watched both in and out of the state because it could shift the partisan balance in the Senate. Together, the candidates have already raised more than $10 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and thatis more than the candidates from all but three other states. We’ll have more on all these races as the election approaches. For now, here are the bare essentials that any Mainer should know.

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