John Martin launches bid to return to Maine Legislature

Posted March 08, 2014, at 1:02 p.m.
Last modified March 09, 2014, at 8:43 a.m.

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Longtime Democratic lawmaker John L. Martin will run again in November to regain the seat in the Maine House of Representatives he lost in November 2012 to Republican Allen Michael Nadeau.
Beurmond Banville | BDN File Photo
Longtime Democratic lawmaker John L. Martin will run again in November to regain the seat in the Maine House of Representatives he lost in November 2012 to Republican Allen Michael Nadeau.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Longtime Democratic lawmaker John L. Martin will run again in November to regain the seat in the Maine House of Representatives he lost in November 2012 to Republican Allen Michael Nadeau.

Based on candidate filings to the secretary of state’s office as of Saturday, Martin will again oppose Nadeau in a two-way race for what, after redistricting, will be House District 151.

Martin was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1964. He went on to serve as speaker of the House for an unprecedented 10 terms. Martin also served in the Maine Senate from 2000 to 2008 before returning to his seat in the House. He was the only incumbent Democrat voted out of the Legislature in November 2012.

One week before the March 17 deadline for legislative candidates affiliated with parties to submit nomination papers to the secretary of state to earn a place on a primary ballot, only 24 candidates had filed to run for 35 seats in the Maine Senate and 117 candidates for 151 seats in the House.

Those filings foreshadow at least four party primaries in June. However, campaign financing information filed with the Maine Ethics Commission indicates others are likely. The political landscape will also change between the deadline and November general elections as candidates who filed as “placeholders” are replaced after the filing deadline.

Unenrolled candidates have until June 1 to file.

Among the notable potential primary races — slated to be decided on June 10 — would be a contest between two of Maine’s most conservative lawmakers, Sen. Douglas Thomas of Ripley and Rep. Paul Davis Sr. of Sangerville, who both have submitted paperwork to run for the newly numbered Senate District 4 seat. Both are veteran lawmakers who have served in the House and Senate, representing rural residents of Somerset and Piscataquis counties.

In southern Maine, the Senate district currently represented by unenrolled Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth will likely host a high-profile Democratic primary pitting Steve Woods of Yarmouth against Catherine Breen of Falmouth. Woodbury has said he will not seek re-election.

Woods, the current chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council, ran as an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in 2012 until dropping out and endorsing Sen. Angus King. He also announced he would run as a Democrat for governor in 2014 until U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud announced his candidacy. Woods stepped aside and endorsed Michaud.

In Bangor, two Republicans are lined up for a primary contest to decide who will represent the GOP in the election for House District 125. Katrin Teel , a former health policy adviser to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, will face fellow Republican Gary Capehart. Incumbent Democrat Victoria Kornfield also has filed to seek re-election for that seat.

The House seat held by Democratic Rep. Charlie Priest of Brunswick for a total for seven terms will likely see a Democratic primary between former town councilor Jacqueline Sartoris and retired judge Ralph L. Tucker. Priest cannot see re-election this year due to term limits. No Republican has filed papers.

Like Martin, another veteran Democratic lawmaker, Bill Diamond of Windham, will seek a return to the Legislature. The former secretary of state who served in the Legislature for nearly 20 years, was prevented from seeking re-election to his Senate seat two years ago by the state’s term-limits law. With Diamond out of the race, the Democrats did not enter a candidate in the 2012 election, and Republican Sen. Gary Plummer took the District 12 Senate seat. As of Saturday, Diamond alone had filed to run for what will now be Senate District 26.

In a Bangor-area Senate contest likely to garner great attention, first-term Sen. Geoff Gratwick, a Democrat, is poised to face a challenge from Republican Cary Weston, former mayor of Bangor, for the Senate District 9 seat.

In 2012, Gratwick unseated one-term incumbent Republican Sen. Nichi Farnham in a contest that drew more than $450,000 in outside spending — nearly double the next highest total in that year’s legislative contests.

Eric Brakey, a Republican from New Gloucester, who was Maine state director for tea party presidential hopeful Ron Paul’s campaign, has filed to oppose incumbent Democrat John. J. Cleveland, former Auburn mayor, for what will now be Senate District 20.

Among the notable potential House candidates is Beth O’Connor of Berwick, the former vice chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party and chairwoman of Maine Taxpayers United. She has filed to run to regain the seat she lost to Democrat Joshua R. Plante of Berwick in 2012. Berwick has filed a campaign finance report indicating he will attempt to hold on to the new House District 5 seat.

In July 2013, O’Connor resigned as vice chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party, saying she was disappointed that Republican legislators had failed to support LePage’s veto of the Legislature’s biennial budget compromise.

Paul Stearns of Guilford, a past president of the Maine School Superintendents Association, is a Republican candidate for House District 119. No other candidates have filed to run for that seat.

Democrat Rebecca Cornell du Houx of Augusta has filed to run for House District 85. Republican Kimberly Davis has filed a campaign finance report to oppose Cornell du Houx. In 2012, Brunswick Democrats replacedCornell du Houx’s brother, Alexander Cornell du Houx, on the ballot for re-election after he was the subject of a temporary protection order filed by fellow legislator Rep. Erin Herbig, D-Belfast.

As of Friday, eight candidates from the Green Independent Party appear ready to run, five for Senate seats and three for the House of Representatives.

 

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