Sen. Emily Cain ‘more serious than ever’ about bid for Congress if Michaud runs for governor

Posted March 05, 2013, at 12:29 p.m.
Last modified March 05, 2013, at 7:37 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — It’s no secret that Sen. Emily Cain has had her eye on a congressional seat for at least a year, but the Orono Democrat said Tuesday that she is “more serious than ever” about a potential 2014 run for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in light of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud saying publicly on Monday that he is eyeing a run for the governor’s office.

Cain said Tuesday that she would seek Michaud’s seat only if the Democrat, who is serving his sixth term representing the 2nd District, opts to enter the 2014 governor’s race.

“I’m a big fan of Mike Michaud, but if he decides to run for governor I would very seriously consider running for his 2nd Congressional District seat,” Cain said Tuesday morning.

A year ago when Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, shook up Maine politics by announcing plans to retire from her long-held U.S. Senate seat, Cain considered a run for Congress if Michaud entered the race to succeed Snowe. However, when Michaud chose to stick with his re-election bid in the 2nd District, Cain quickly abandoned that effort.

“I’ve never run for Congress for more than three days before,” quipped Cain. “This is now an opening to get past just the gut reaction. It’s an opportunity to have that conversation carefully with my colleagues, family and supporters.”

Michaud told the Bangor Daily News on Monday that he’s focused on his work in Congress and that he has yet to set a timeline for a decision on a Blaine House run. Michaud has yet to file as a 2014 gubernatorial candidate with the Maine Elections Commission, but he has said friends and supporters are encouraging him to run for governor, where he’d likely square off against incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.

In 2010, Democrats finished a distant third in the three-way governor’s race between LePage, Cutler and former Maine Senate President Libby Mitchell. Mitchell was within striking distance until Cutler surged to within a couple of percentage points of LePage in the final weeks of the campaign.

Former state Sen. Cynthia Dill, the Democrats’ candidate in last year’s contest to succeed Snowe, also finished a distant third behind independent Angus King, who won handily, and Republican Charlie Summers.

For the 2014 race, LePage and Cutler already have filed campaign papers with the Secretary of State’s office, as have independent Alex Hammer and Democrats Steve Woods and former Maliseet Rep. David Slagger.

Cain is serving her first term in the Maine Senate after four terms in the House of Representatives, where she rose to House minority leader in 2011, during a Republican-controlled Legislature. She is also in her second term on the Legislature’s powerful, budget-writing Appropriations Committee.

Cain is working on a doctorate degree from the University of Maine in higher education with a concentration in public policy. She also holds an undergraduate degree in vocal music education from the university as well as a master’s degree in higher education from Harvard University. Cain was first elected to the House in 2004 at the age of 24, according to her legislative biography.

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