PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s largest gay rights advocacy group announced Wednesday it is endorsing Emily Cain in the Democratic primary in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.
Cain, of Orono, faces Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash in the June 10 election to determine the party nominee in the U.S. House race.
The winner will go on to run against either former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin or former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye, who are competing for the Republican nomination.
Blaine Richardson, who initially said he would run as a Republican before switching to make a bid as an independent, also could factor into the general election in November.
Second District Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, is running for governor against incumbent Republican Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.
EqualityMaine Executive Director Elise Johansen said in a Wednesday statement that her organization decided to back Cain for her leadership advocating for the legalization of same-sex marriage in the state. In 2012, Maine voters legalized same-sex marriage, which garnered support from 53 percent of those who cast ballots.
EqualityMaine is the oldest and largest advocacy group for the state’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Its endorsement carries the weight of nearly 70,000 members statewide and often is coveted by liberals seeking office.
“Emily Cain didn’t just vote for the marriage bill in 2009, she was essential to its passage [in 2012]. On one of the toughest, most important votes our community has had in the Legislature we knew [we] could count on Emily, and not just on her vote, but on her hard work,” Johansen said.
“While Troy Jackson has had a strong voting record on LGBT issues — a record not many other elected officials in Northern Maine have had — the final decision came down to Cain’s support and leadership on the issue of marriage,” she said.
EqualityMaine announced its endorsement of Cain and candidates in two Democratic state Senate primaries in an email to its members Wednesday. In addition to Cain, the group announced support for Andrea Boland in Senate District 33 in York County and Jim Dill in Senate District 5 in Penobscot County.
Boland, who is completing her fourth term in the Maine House, faces incumbent John Tuttle of Sanford in her Democratic primary, while Dill faces former Maine House member Herbert Clark of Millinocket.
Wanda Lincoln of Old Town is not facing a primary challenger for the District 5 GOP nomination, nor is fellow Republican Adam McGee of Sanford in District 33.