ELLSWORTH — Following a Hancock County Republican caucus and a meeting of the Hancock County Democratic Committee on Feb. 12, followed by the Hancock County Green Independent Committee the next day, three candidates have been nominated to fill the vacated state Senate District 7 seat.
Rep. Nicole Grohoski, the current state representative for Ellsworth and Trenton, is the Democratic candidate, and former state Sen. Brian Langley is the Republican candidate for the June 14 special election. Benjamin Meiklejohn, a Mount Desert Island resident, will represent the Green Independent Party.
The filing deadline for candidates to be listed on the ballot was Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 5 p.m. Any write-in candidates must file a declaration of their candidacy by Feb. 23.
The candidate elected will finish the two-year term ending in November that was held by Louie Luchini, who stepped down last month to take a position with the Small Business Administration.
Grohoski also is running for the Democratic party’s nomination as the candidate in the general election for the two-year District 7 Senate seat in November, when her second term as state representative ends. The primary will be on June 14, the same date as the special election.
“Serving my hometown in the Maine Legislature for the past four years has been the honor of a lifetime,” Grohoski said after receiving the nominations. “Hancock County is a beautiful place to call home, but from out-of-control energy costs to threats to our environment and heritage industries, living here is not without challenges. With those challenges, there can be opportunities — growing Hancock County’s biomedical hub of excellence, expanding awareness and access to the trades, and improving the cost of living and quality of life for everyone. I am eager to expand my efforts to make life better for my neighbors as their state senator and will give Senate District 7 my all.”
Rep. Genevieve McDonald (D-Stonington), in her second term representing District 134, had declared her candidacy in late January for the special election but withdrew it just prior to the Feb. 12 committee meeting, throwing her support behind Grohoski.
As a state representative, Grohoski serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology and is a geographic information system (GIS) specialist and cartographer, working for a small Maine-based mapping company.
Langley won 65 percent of votes in the Republican caucus for the special election, held at the Ellsworth Elks Lodge on Feb. 12. His opponent, John Linnehan, had previously lost to Langley in the 2020 District 7 primary election and is a two-time candidate for Ellsworth City Council, running unsuccessfully in 2016 and 2021.
Langley previously has served one term in the House and, most recently, four two-year terms as a state senator until 2018, when term limits prohibited him from running for re-election. He ran to regain his former seat in 2020 but lost to Luchini by a 10 percent margin.
“For me, public service has always been about improving conditions for my community in the present while building a brighter future for our younger generation,” Langley said when announcing his run for the open seat.
After receiving the nomination, he told The American of being stopped by a woman who was in desperate need of fuel and food assistance.
“Oftentimes it’s making those connections between two groups in your district or town, connecting people to resources,” he said. “That’s what this job is.”
Meiklejohn, who previously served on the Portland School Committee for six years, also ran for state representative in 2020, seeking to represent Bar Harbor, Lamoine and Mount Desert. The Green Independent Party was able to bypass the 100 signatures requirement to be placed on the ballot because of state laws around special elections to fill vacancies.
For the June 14 special election, Senate District 7 includes the following municipalities: Amherst, Aurora, Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Central Hancock Unorganized Territory, Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Eastbrook, Ellsworth, Franklin, Frenchboro, Hancock, Lamoine, Mariaville, Marshall Island Township, Mount Desert, Osborn, Otis, Sedgwick, Sorrento, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Surry, Swan’s Island, Tremont, Trenton, Waltham and part of East Hancock Unorganized Territory.
For the primary in June and the general election in November, Senate District 7 includes these municipalities: Bar Harbor, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Ellsworth, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, Lamoine, Mount Desert, Orland, Penobscot, Sedgwick, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Surry, Swan’s Island, Tremont, Trenton and Verona Island.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained an error. Grohoski is running in the June primary to represent the Democratic party in the general election in November.