AUGUSTA, Maine — One of the first acts for newly elected lawmakers Wednesday will be to elect Maine’s attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer to serve two-year terms.

The three constitutional officers are elected by the 186 voting members of the combined Maine Senate and House. After being sworn in Wednesday morning, the 127th Legislature will spend the afternoon hearing from nominees for the positions, then they will vote.

Candidates from the party with a majority of legislators in the two chambers combined historically have won.

With Democratic majorities in both chambers in 2012, that party’s candidates — Attorney General Janet Mills, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Treasurer Neria Douglass — won two-year terms. All three are seeking re-election this year.

This year’s election could be far more competitive, as Democrats hold 93 seats, Republicans hold 88 and independents hold four. One Senate seat remains in question after a contested recount.

On Tuesday, incoming Republican lawmakers gathered to nominate candidates to oppose Mills, Dunlap and Douglass.

Republicans picked Terry Hayes, an outgoing Democratic state representative from Buckfield, to challenge Douglass. Hayes served four terms in the Maine House as a Democrat but recently quit the party and worked on the campaign of independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler.

Hayes, who served as assistant House minority leader when Republicans held legislative majorities in 2011-12, was praised by the GOP for her “long history of working across the aisles.”

Republicans nominated William Logan, an attorney with the firm of Irwin, Tardy & Morris, to challenge Mills, who often has sparred with Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who recently made known his dislike for Mills.

Legislators in December 2008 elected Mills to be Maine’s first female attorney general. She returned to the position in 2012, when Democrats regained legislative majorities, and is completing her second term.

Logan has expertise in family law, real estate and litigation, according to a profile on his law firm’s website.

“Bill Logan is an accomplished attorney who has distinguished himself among his colleagues and within Maine’s entire legal community,” incoming Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, said in a prepared statement. “I am very excited about the prospect of him being Maine’s next attorney general.”

Logan represented Maine Republicans in the contested Senate District 25 recount.

Republicans also nominated former lawmaker Jonathan Courtney to be their candidate for secretary of state. He will oppose Dunlap, who is completing his fourth term in the position.

Courtney, a Republican from Springvale, served four terms in the state Senate before running unsuccessfully in 2012 against U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in Maine’s 1st U.S. House District. He served as Senate majority leader in 2011 and 2012 before leaving the Senate because of term limits. Prior to his Senate tenure, Courtney served a single term in the Maine House.

Courtney most recently has worked as a State House lobbyist and political adviser.

Incoming state Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, praised Courtney’s record.

“Jon is a great public servant who had an impressive career here in the Maine Legislature,” Mason said.

Justin Alfond, a Portland Democrat who will become Senate minority leader Wednesday, after two years as Senate president, said Democrats — who need all the votes of their caucus plus at least one vote from an independent House member to achieve an overall majority — remain confident the incumbents will prevail Wednesday.

“We believe they’ve done a great job for the state of Maine,” Alfond said. “The Republican caucus has the opportunity and the path to offer their nominees, and that’s within their right. They will put their candidates up against ours, and we look forward to hearing from both sides.”

Scott Thistle

Scott Thistle is the State Politics Editor for the Lewiston Sun Journal. He has covered federal, state and local politics in Maine for nearly two decades.