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ELLSWORTH — Crocuses and songbirds aren’t the only ones poking their heads out with the warmer weather. Candidates are also up and singing — for votes.
Come November, eight Democrats and eight Republicans will vie for 16 district seats in Hancock County. The June 12 primaries will largely be a formality (there are no contested primaries in either party), but a field of diverse candidates should make the exercise interesting.
Among the Republicans registered to run are legislators, business owners, a lobsterman and a former broadcaster.
The Ellsworth and Trenton race (District 132) may be the county’s least lively. Republican Mark Remick has no primary challenger and Democrat Chris Keefe plans to withdraw his name after the primary elections in June. The District 132 seat is being vacated by Louie Luchini, who is in a primary for state Senate.
Remick is the sole Republican seeking Clean Election funding; the remaining candidates who have filed with the Maine Ethics Commission (the group that enforces Maine’s campaign finance laws) are running traditionally financed campaigns. Philip Brady of Stonington has yet to file papers with the commission.
Traditionally financed candidates have no limits on how much money they may raise, but individual contributions are capped at a total of $800 for party candidates (this includes the primary and general elections). Unenrolled candidates can accept a total of $400 per contribution.
Any candidate running a traditionally financed campaign is free to participate in political action committees (PACs).
Candidates running “clean” for the House of Representatives are eligible for $500 in state funds for an uncontested primary and $2,525 in a contested race; $1,525 for an uncontested general election and $5,075 in a contested one. Candidates may collect more money if they secure additional qualifying contributions, and all are allowed to solicit up to $1,000 in “seed money” to jumpstart their campaigns.
The winner in each district will be paid a state salary: $24,430 for the two-year period in which he or she serves, receiving $14,272 for the first regular session (which lasts around six months) and $10,158 for the second regular session (around four months). Lawmakers receive health care benefits and pay for special sessions and committee meetings, $70 per night for lodging and meals, and reimbursement for mileage.
“You don’t do this for the money,” Remick noted.
There are eight district seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs in Hancock County. The following residents are registered to run as Republicans in 2018.
District 130 – Bucksport and Orrington: Incumbent Richard Campbell will face Democratic challenger Michael Reynolds in the general election.
Campbell, who is serving his second term in the House, runs Dick Campbell LLC, a contracting company specializing in green technologies. A former staff sergeant in the Maine Air National Guard and owner of the Riverside Inn, Campbell wrote in an email that his focus is on economic development. He serves on the Environment and Natural Resources Committee and has been involved in legislation such as “An Act to Protect Law Enforcement Officers by Creating the Crime of Aggravated Assault on an Officer” (also known as the “Blue Lives Matter Bill”) and another titled “An Act to Increase Funding to Schools by Repealing Unnecessary and Burdensome Regulations.” Campbell has served in the Legislature on and off since 1992, including as assistant House Republican floor leader from 1996-2000.
District 131 – Dedham, Orland, Otis, Penobscot, Prospect, Stockton Springs and Verona Island: Democrat Nathalie Arruda will face incumbent Karl Ward.
Ward, who is finishing his second term in the House, sits on the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee and also the Committee on Taxation. His sponsored legislation includes bills such as “An Act to Allow Terminally Ill Patients to Choose to Use Experimental Treatments” (also known as the “Right to Try Bill”) as well as “An Act to Prevent Violence Against Emergency First Responders,” (the “Blue Lives Matter Bill”) and “An Act To Fund the Cold Case Homicide Unit in the Department of the Attorney General” (the “Cold Case Homicide Squad Bill”). Ward is president and CEO of the Brewer-based construction company Nickerson & O’Day. In an email, Ward cited his top priorities as “reducing tax burdens on Maine businesses, reducing energy costs for all Mainers and promoting business development in eastern and central Maine.”
District 132 – Ellsworth and Trenton: Mark Remick has worked as a police officer in Maine and Michigan, served in the Air National Guard. He has served as a firefighter and medic in Ellsworth and owns Maine Storage Plus in Ellsworth.
Remick, vice chairman of the Trenton Board of Selectmen, said he’s focused on “encouraging business expansion and development in our communities, addressing the opioid crisis, broadening the health care access and affordability, advancing the missions of our schools, easing the economic pressures of the tax dollar demands,” adding that he wants to “bolster the business environment and help our communities retain and attract a workforce that proudly thrives.”
District 133 – Blue Hill, Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry: Democrat Sarah Pebworth of Blue Hill will face Republican Nancy Colwell.
Colwell works as a risk manager at Maine Shellfish Co. and has a background in finance. In a press release, Colwell said she is running because she “believes in giving back to the community” and feels that she can best represent the interests of the district, having lived and worked in and around the area most of her life.
“We are the oldest state in the nation with most of our elderly living off of Social Security only,” Colwell said. “While a great majority of our working force are living paycheck to paycheck, do we spend millions implementing ranked choice voting, which as it currently stands in unconstitutional? Or do we take that money and make our schools safer and fight the ever-growing and dangerous opiate addiction?”
District 134 – Cranberry Isles, Deer Isle, Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, North Haven, Southwest Harbor, Stonington, Swan’s Island, Tremont and Vinalhaven, Marshall Island Township: Republican Philip Brady will face Genevieve McDonald.
Philip Brady is the director of the Advanced Hypnosis Center in Deer Isle and the owner of Joseph C. Lincoln Books. He has served as a firefighter, part-time police officer and emergency manager for the town of Deer Isle, as well as the town chairman for the Deer Isle Republicans. He also has worked with the American Red Cross. A retired member of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps, Brady wrote in an email that he is running “to make the voice of my district heard in Augusta.”
District 135 – Bar Harbor, Lamoine and Mount Desert: Incumbent Brian Hubbell, a Democrat, will seek a fourth term. He is opposed by Republican Maurice Joseph Marshall.
Marshall has training in the fine arts and has worked in banking, broadcasting, emergency medical services, fine dining, and education. He has been a moderator at town meetings for Southwest Harbor, Lamoine and Hancock. He wrote in an email that his “wide experience and local heritage will serve to advocate for the needs of every resident of Bar Harbor, Lamoine, and Mount Desert in Augusta.”
District 136 – Gouldsboro, Hancock, Mariaville, Osborn, Sorrento, Steuben, Sullivan, Waltham and Winter Harbor, East Hancock and Fletchers Landing Township: Republican William “Billy Bob” Faulkingham will face Democrat Kylie Bragdon.
Faulkingham, a two-term selectman in Winter Harbor, wrote in an email that he is running to “defend the Second Amendment in Maine, defend and support the fisheries, reduce government spending and protect all people’s civil liberties.”
“I truly desire to have a government that is least involved in people’s lives.”
Faulkingham is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the Downeast Lobsterman’s Association, the Maine Lobsterman’s Association and the Knights of Pythias. He is on the board of directors at the Winter Harbor Lobsterman’s Co-op.
District 137 – Amherst, Aurora, Beddington, Bradford, Bradley, Deblois, Eastbrook, Edinburg, Franklin, Great Pond, Greenbush, Lagrange, Northfield, Passadumkeag and Wesley, East Hancock, North Washington, Northwest Hancock and Grand Falls, Greenfield, and Summit Townships: Democrat Doug Bunker will face incumbent Larry Lockman.
Lockman, who is seeking a fourth term, said in a statement that he has fought hard “to fully fund the notorious Medicaid waitlists on behalf of Maine’s most vulnerable citizens,” adding that “they deserve better than being forced to wait for needed in-home services while the Legislature spends scarce resources on nonessential programs, including welfare for non-citizens.”
Lockman said he will continue to advocate for imposing fines on municipalities on “sanctuary cities” where police departments decline to provide information on undocumented immigrants to federal authorities.
He said he is also looking forward to seeing the enactment of a bill he co-sponsored intended to “redirect state funding to career and vocational education programs in rural school districts.”