Republican Sen. Peter Mills of Cornville announced Tuesday that he is running for governor on a platform emphasizing reduced state spending, education reform and greater government accountability.
Mills joins three others who have filed paperwork with state officials indicating that they plan to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2010. Additional GOP candidates are expected to join the race in the coming months.
A lawyer and veteran lawmaker, Mills is regarded as a moderate Republican and a policy wonk, especially in the areas of state finances and the tax code.
Mills ran for the Republican nomination to the Blaine House in 2006 but lost in the primary to Chandler Woodcock, a conservative who ultimately was defeated by the incumbent Democrat, Gov. John Baldacci.
It is widely believed that Mills’ independent streak and reputation as a moderate likely would have helped him in the general election, but cost him votes among conservative voters in the GOP primary.
“Things have deteriorated in the last four years,” Mills said in a Tuesday interview. “Most of the things that I pointed to [during the 2006 campaign] have gotten worse, and part of that is the economy and part of that is the state.”
Mills’ priorities in his “rebuild Maine” campaign include:
ä Improve the state’s education system through more modern assessments, teacher incentives, a longer school year and voluntary administrative consolidation;
ä Simplify regulations to encourage business growth; consolidate duplicative government services;
ä Reduce energy prices by taking advantage of Maine’s abundant natural resources and proximity to less expensive power supplies in Canada.
The other Republican candidates for the Blaine House in 2010 who have come forward are Matthew Jacobson, Les Otten and Bruce Poliquin.
A Navy veteran and Farmington native, Mills has three adult children and is married to Maine Superior Court Justice Nancy Mills.