In a June 30 editorial, the BDN Editorial Board wrote about me that “she knows how the political process works and where to apply needed pressure to get the right outcome.” It adds that “she supports Medicare for all, the Green New Deal and significant police reforms.” The editorial concludes that “for progressive Democrats, she is a solid second choice, or perhaps even a top choice.”

Thank you for the compliments. But I have to admit, I’m not sure why the editorial board would consider me a “solid second choice” for progressive Democrats. Why would a progressive Democrat give a first-place vote to the candidate who does not support Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, when a candidate who does is on the ballot? I would consider myself a “solid first choice” for progressive Democrats.

But what about the Democratic voters who do not consider themselves progressive, but who really want to win in November? I believe I should be their first choice vote as well, and here’s why.

First of all, we both can beat Sen. Susan Collins. A poll shared by BDN columnists on May 28 shows that Sara Gideon and I both would beat Collins in the fall.

Second, I am a more efficient campaigner. As of April 1, Gideon had spent more than $10 million in this primary to reach her lead over Collins. I had spent less than $400,000 to reach my lead. I do not owe any big donors anything. I know how to run a grassroots campaign.

Third, this is not just any election year. Voters are hungry for change. The deadly virus, unemployment, racism, climate warming, personal debt, have all reached a critical state. The country needs solutions as big as the problems confronting us.

I call this our Social Security moment. Social Security was an idea that was around for decades, but it only came into law when the Great Depression struck, and voters and politicians recognized that something had to be done about seniors falling into poverty.

This year tens of millions of Americans lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs in the spring. It was never a good idea to tie health insurance to having a job. But this year made it absolutely clear. Universal health insurance, Medicare for All, which has been debated since the days of President Harry Truman, is now supported by a majority of Americans.

This year, your vote is not about liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. It’s about who is with the people, and who is with the monied interests. I am with the people. I ask for your first place vote in the ranked-choice election for Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate on July 14.

Betsy Sweet of Hallowell is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate.