State Sen. Mark Dion of Portland on Thursday became the latest Democrat to launch a campaign for governor.
Dion, who is a former three-term sheriff in Cumberland County, was first elected to the Legislature in 2010, when he won a Portland-area seat in the Maine House of Representatives.
He ran for Senate and won his Portland-area seat in 2016. Dion has been a member of the Legislature’s Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and now co-chairs the legislative committee that is working on implementing a regulatory structure for recreational marijuana, which was legalized by voters last year.
“In my life, I have learned that listening sometimes takes more courage than speaking. But a leader must always be ready for that moment, which calls for him or her to break ranks to act in the best interests of all the people of our state,” Dion said in a release. “I have made those decisions as a sheriff and I realize how important it will be for a governor to see the difference between popularity and principle in choosing the best course for Maine’s future.”
According to the Ethics Commission’s website, Dion is running as a privately financed Democrat. Since he left law enforcement, Dion has earned a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law and is a practicing attorney.
Dion joins a crowded field. Ten Democrats have registered for gubernatorial runs, setting up what could be a wild primary election for June 2018.
Dion aims to be the first Democrat to win the Blaine House since John Baldacci, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006. Republican Gov. Paul LePage won a five-way race for governor in 2010, and was re-elected in 2014. Dion’s tenure in the Legislature coincides with LePage’s as governor.
Dion also played a prominent role in the 2016 campaign to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Maine.