Clinton backs Libby Mitchell for governor

Posted March 09, 2010, at 11:47 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate President Elizabeth “Libby” Mitchell’s campaign for governor received a major nod Tuesday when former President Bill Clinton endorsed the Democratic candidate.

Clinton has not appeared in person on behalf of Mitchell. But the former president sent an e-mail to thousands of potential donors urging them to help Mitchell collect enough small donations for her to qualify for public campaign financing through the state’s Clean Election Act program.

“I am proud to ask you to join me in helping to elect my friend, Libby Mitchell, Governor of Maine,” Clinton states in the e-mail. “My trust in Libby has never been misplaced. She has served with distinction throughout her career, being the first woman chair of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, and the first in the country to preside over both a houses of the state legislature.”

Clinton appointed Mitchell to the federal banking post in Boston.

Like all “clean election” candidates, Mitchell is racing against the clock to collect $40,000 in campaign seed money in donations of $100 or less. Additionally, candidates who want to qualify for public campaign funding must collect 3,250 contributions of $5 to the Clean Election Fund.

Candidates have until April 1 to file the qualifying contributions to the Maine Ethics Commission. Six other candidates also have indicated they plan to seek public campaign financing in return for a pledge not to accept private donations.