TRENTON, Maine — While it may be politics as usual on the national scene, the local race for state Senate in District 28 took a different turn with an announcement from Democratic incumbent Dennis Damon this week that he will forgo most fundraising activity in his campaign.
In a press release Wednesday, Damon said he plans to raise the “bare bones” needed for the campaign and will rely on recycled campaign posters from previous elections. He is urging supporters to contribute to a new People and Communities fund to help residents in need of food and heating assistance.
“I’ve been a senator for six years,” Damon said in the release. “If they don’t know me by now … Well, I figured there were just more important things to do.”
Damon noted that the People and Communities fund was a friendly dig at the standard political action committee moniker, PAC, but stressed the purpose of the fund is serious. He said he hopes to raise $50,000 to be distributed between local food pantries and low-income home-heating assistance programs.
“This year, we all know that winter is going to hit our communities especially hard,” Damon said. “We all need to be preparing now, ahead of the cold weather, to help the neighbors who will need it most. With the cost of food and the cost of heating oil both increasing at the same time, we have a real crisis just around the corner.”
Damon’s Republican challenger in the election, Mark Remick, applauded the senator’s move and agreed that this winter will be hard on a large number of Maine residents.
“I think this is a fabulous idea and it’s good of Dennis to do it,” Remick said Thursday. “There’s no doubt about it, people are going to be slammed this winter.”
Remick added, however, that current policies were at the root of the problems facing Mainers this winter, and he placed the blame at the feet of Damon and the Democrats.
“Dennis is my neighbor and a friend,” he said, “but we differ politically. If we had different policies in place, we wouldn’t be facing a crisis as monumental as we are. He is part of how we got to be in the position we’re in.”
Although he acknowledged the energy issue is a national and international problem, Remick argued that the state should have been planning ahead while the current situation was developing. He said leaders should be planning now to deal with what will happen next year, and should be developing plans to deal with energy issues in the long term.
Remick, who is a Maine Clean Election candidate and is limited in the amount of fundraising he can do, said Damon’s fundraising decision would not affect his campaign.