Races finally set for new Legislature

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- After months of recruiting candidates, the two political parties in the Legislature say they're ready for the big face-off in November. The final deadline for candidates was Monday.

Each party always has some candidates drop out after the primary, and those spots on the ballot need to be filled before the end of July.

In the House of Representatives, Republicans will have candidates for 150 of the 151 seats, while Democrats have candidates for 139 of those races. However, most of the Republicans are newcomers to Augusta politics, because many incumbents chose not to run again.

According to numbers supplied by party staff members, Republicans have just 31 incumbent representatives running for re-election, while Democrats in the House have 66 incumbents. Republicans have 9 representatives who can't run again because of term limits, and another 18 decided to not run. Democrats are losing 13 to term limits, with 10 others deciding not to seek re-election.

Republican leader Rep. Ken Fredette told reporters Tuesday it's a natural change, because many in his party only intend to stay for a few terms and not be "career politicians."

But Democrats claim the numbers show Republicans are discouraged. Rep. Mark Eves, the Speaker of the House, said Republicans are suffering from what he called "LePage fatigue" and decided not to run.

In the Senate, Democrats have candidates for all 35 seats, while the GOP has candidates for 34. Each party is losing four incumbents because of term limits or decisions not to run again.

Those candidates who are running will be part of a tough campaign for control of the next Legislature. Rep. Fredette and Rep. Eves each suggested the other party will have a money advantage, and said the key to winning will be for the candidates to work hard, going door to door, and meeting the voters.


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