AUGUSTA, Maine — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 1st District, will not run for governor in 2014. Andrew Colvin, Pingree’s deputy communications director, confirmed Friday afternoon that Pingree has decided against a gubernatorial run.
“After considering the decision carefully over the last few months, I have decided not to run for governor in 2014,” Pingree said in an email to the Bangor Daily News. “With so many federal issues impacting our state, I think I can best serve the people of Maine at this time by continuing to fight for them in Congress. I deeply appreciate all the support I’ve received as I’ve weighed whether to run.”
Her decision leaves U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat who represents Maine’s 2nd District, and former Gov. John Baldacci as the most prominent potential Democratic gubernatorial candidates. Neither has filed as a gubernatorial candidate, but both have said they would consider a run.
Michaud was on a plane Friday afternoon and couldn’t be reached. His chief of staff, Peter Chandler, said the congressman is still considering a gubernatorial bid but hasn’t made up his mind. He hasn’t set a time frame for making that decision, either, Chandler said.
Baldacci, who served as governor from 2003 to 2011, said Friday afternoon he’s been waiting for Pingree and Michaud to decide on their gubernatorial intentions before making up his mind.
“Mike has got a lot of support, and he has a tremendous record in Washington that he’s been able to put together and he’s shown real leadership on the issues,” Baldacci said. “If he decides to run, he’ll be a very, very strong candidate.”
Steve Woods of Yarmouth is the only Democrat to have filed as a candidate. David Slagger originally filed as a Democrat, but has switched his party affiliation to Green Independent.
Incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler, who lost narrowly to LePage in 2010, also have filed as 2014 gubernatorial candidates with the Maine Ethics Commission. Neither has formally announced his candidacy.
Regardless of whom Maine Democrats nominate, Baldacci said, the party will field a strong candidate to challenge LePage and, presumably, Cutler.
“I’m going to be working for or putting myself out there as an alternative to the leadership that we currently have and to try to get the state back on track in terms of our national reputation and the leadership we’ve always shown on important issues,” he said.
Brent Littlefield, LePage’s political adviser, offered a contrasting perspective.
“It’s very clear that [Pingree] looked at the tea leaves and some of her internal polling and realized that Gov. LePage is likely to win re-election and that it would have been a very difficult race for her to run,” Littlefield said by phone Friday. “It is the same conclusion many other likely opponents are likely to reach. We look forward to running on Gov. LePage’s record.”
Pingree is serving her third term in Congress. Michaud, who succeeded Baldacci as the 2nd District’s representative, is serving his sixth term. Both easily won re-election in 2012.
BDN State House reporter Matthew Stone contributed to this report.