Luchini, Malaby to run for Senate

Louie Luchini
Richard Malaby

ELLSWORTH — The races are on. Sixteen candidates from Hancock County made the March 15 filing deadline to run for the Maine House of Representatives, and three others will vie for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Brian Langley, who is term-limited after serving eight years in the Senate.

Ellsworth Democrat Louie Luchini, who has served four terms in the Maine House, is among those running for Senate District 7.

He will be challenged in the primary by Ian Schwartz, a writer and teacher from the town of Mount Desert.

The winner will face State Rep. Richard Malaby of Hancock, a Republican who has served four terms representing District 136, in the general election.

“I guess it was just a madhouse down there because every county in the state was in a real pickle,” said Sherm Hutchins, chairman of the Hancock County Republican Committee, referring to the scene at the Secretary of State’s Office last Thursday evening.

“Everybody had real late filers. It’s a lot more difficult to get candidates than the general public understands.”

In an emailed statement, Luchini wrote that, if elected, he’ll continue to focus “on fighting the opiate crisis, improving our economy, and ensuring access to quality health care.” Luchini has served as chairman of the Ethics Committee as well as the committee on Veterans and Legal Affairs, and was awarded the 2017 American Legion “Legislator of the Year” award.

Luchini wrote that he is “focused on retaining and attracting young people to live and work in Maine,” citing his work on the passage of a $50-million research and development bond, $12.5 million of which was allocated to The Jackson Laboratory for its expansion into Ellsworth.

Malaby, who owns the Crocker House Inn and restaurant in Hancock, has spent years on the Health and Human Services Committee, where he’s focused extensively on mental health care, including advocating for increased spending on mental health care, substance abuse services and elder care.

Malaby was voted “Citizen of the Year” in Hancock in 2009 and has served on Hancock’s budget committee and is a member of the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving on the board and as chairman of the board of Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.

Schwartz spent eight years living in South Korea, time that he credits with heavily influencing his views on health care and gun regulation. Schwartz wrote in an email that his goals, if elected, would be to ban the purchase of AR-15 rifles and raise the legal age to purchase a firearm to 21. Schwartz also wrote that he would work to regulate the internet as a public utility, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, expand MaineCare services and provide public daycare to all Maine residents, among other objectives.

In the House races, two candidates are registered to run for each of the eight district seats. Democrat Christopher Keefe and Republican Mark Remick are running for the seat that will be vacated by Luchini, representing Ellsworth and Trenton.

Keefe said in an email that he agreed to serve as a “placeholder” in the race, despite not being in a financial position to serve in the Legislature.

The American was unable to reach Keefe to ask what he meant by “placeholder.”

“Middle class taxpayers can no longer afford to subsidize large year-round employers that don’t pay a living wage,” Keefe wrote. “Nor can the middle class continue to fund the health care costs and loss of economic opportunity associated with air and water pollution.”

He added that “the citizens of Ellsworth and regional towns across the state can no longer afford to subsidize nonprofits and out-of-towners who rely on municipal services.”

In addition to registering with the Secretary of State, candidates must file periodic financial reports with the Maine Ethics Commission. In Maine, candidates have the option to run “clean,” financing their campaign with money from state coffers. Clean Election candidates have until April 20 to collect seed money, also known as qualifying contributions, so that they may receive funds from the state.

Candidates running for the House of Representatives are required to amass 60 of these $5 contributions; those competing for Senate seats must collect 175. If a candidate fails to gather the required amount of contributions, he or she may run traditionally financed — relying on private funding rather than state funding.

In the Hancock County races, all Republican candidates registered with the commission are traditionally financed. Democrats in Hancock County House races, with the exception of Genevieve McDonald of Stonington, have all filed to run as Maine Clean Election candidates, although they must collect the requisite amount of seed money before they are officially certified. Three candidates — Keefe, Remick and Republican Philip Brady of Deer Isle — have not yet registered with the Maine Ethics Commission.

Clean Election candidates in state House races are eligible for $2,525 in a contested primary and $500 in an uncontested primary (none of the primaries in Hancock County is contested). Clean Election candidates running for House seats are eligible for $5,075 in a contested general election and $1,525 in an uncontested one.

Funds for Clean Election candidates will be distributed after they collect the required amount of qualifying contributions. Luchini and Schwartz, who are both potential Clean Election candidates, will each be eligible for up to $10,125 in the run-up to the primary if they collect the required qualifying contributions. If they are certified as clean election candidates Luchini and Schwartz would be eligible for $20,275 in a contested general election and $6,075 in an uncontested one. Malaby is running traditionally financed.

Candidates who don’t making commission deadlines are not disqualified from running, but they may be fined.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Digital Media Strategist
Kate is the paper's Digital Media Strategist, responsible for all things social, and the occasional story too! She's a former reporter for the paper and can be reached at: [email protected]
Kate Cough

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