STATEWIDE, Maine — Emerge Maine, an organization which empowers and trains Democratic women to run for public office, announced that 14 of its alumnae and five of its advisory board members won their races for statewide, county and municipal office on Tuesday, Nov. 6.
Of the 14 alumnae running for the state house, nine prevailed in their races. Four — State Rep.Erin Herbig of Belfast, State Rep. Anne Graham of North Yarmouth, State Rep. Bobbie Beavers of South Berwick and State Rep. Diane Russell of Portland — were re-elected. Another five — Sara Gideon of Freeport, Mattie Daughtry of Brunswick, Lizzie Dickerson of Rockland, Katherine Cassidy of Machias and Lisa Villa of Harrison — will head to Augusta for the first time.
Still too close to call is the race involving Emerge Maine alumna Rachel Sukeforth who ran for the state house in Litchfield, District 80.
Three Emerge Maine advisory board members — State Rep. Peggy Rotondo of Lewiston, State Rep. Terry Hayes of Buckfield and State Rep. Sharon Treat of Hallowell — won their re-election bids.
According to Sara, Gideon, newly elected state rep from Freeport, “Emerge provided me with the real tools I needed to run an intense and effective campaign and it gave me the confidence to use them with the belief that I could win. But more than that, it also provided me with the understanding that in order to fill the halls of local, state and federal government with more females, we need programs that give more than just tools. We need programs that bring like-minded women together to support each other and to remind each other that there is a clear path to balancing family with the pursuit of public service.”
On the county and municipal levels, Emerge Maine trained Democrats were also successful. State Rep. Maeghan Maloney will be the new district attorney for Kennebec and Somerset counties. Jenna Vendil won re-election bid to the Portland school board, Shelby Wright was re-elected to the Hampden town council, Robin Dayton was re-elected to the Old Orchard Beach town council and Melanie Sachs, a member of the current Emerge Maine class, was elected to the town council in Freeport.
“In all, twenty of our alums ran for office this election cycle. At least 70% prevailed and we’re delighted that the training they received at Emerge gave them the confidence and skills to run competitively. Women are woefully underrepresented in public office and with each election we’re funneling more talented female politicians into government at all levels,” said Katie Mae Simpson, executive director of Emerge Maine. “Not to be forgotten, however, are our alums who ran and lost — this time. We thank them for running and predict that most of them will see another day on the ballot.”
The two other Emerge Maine advisory board members who won their races are familiar names — State Rep. Chellie Pingree was re-elected to another term from Maine’s first district and State Rep. Emily Cain, former minority leader of the Maine State legislature, was elected to a first term in the state senate.