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Rep. Chellie Pingree (D)
The state Senate President of Maine, Republican Kevin Raye, is declining to run for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring GOP "moderate" Olympia Snowe. (She's actually a normal conservative, its just that the GOP is now a right wing fascist movement.) Raye, you might recall, is currently the chief Republican challenger to Democratic Congressman Rep. Mike Michaud currently of the second district. It is said that he may be facing a stiff challenge from Raye in this heavily rural district.

Raye:

“Many of them have urged me to run for the United States Senate, and others have asked me to continue my candidacy for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat,” he said. “After careful consideration, I have decided to remain a candidate for the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Actually its a pretty clear decision that didn't take long at all. Raye faces going up against a Democratic presidential climate in Maine this November. He'd have to run statewide on the record of the unpopular Republican majority. He'd get creamed in November.

Since Michaud has also declined to run for the Democratic Senate nomination, 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree's prospects and paths for the Senate are getting clearer and easier. Now, make no mistake:  Lets not forget the overwhelming majorities the two Republican women have won in this state with ease. Had Snowe stayed in, she would have won a comfortable victory even in Obama's year. Chellie might have to move somewhat to the center on a few things to make a viable statewide ballot and that's fine. She's a good congresswoman and a pickup opportunity. And she's a real champ on Net Neutrality.

Hannah Pingree
Even better with the Pingree deal is that her seat is easily the more defensible for progressives and Democrats generally. In fact, it may be possible to get a two-fer in this year of the woman if her daughter Hannah Pingree would run for her old seat. She's the former Speaker of the Maine House.

 In Maine, you can't run for a Congressial seat and a Senate seat at the same time, so she's leaving the race. Portland Press Herald reports Hannah is considering a run. (Eric Russel at Bangor Daily News is a good read.)
(

Now you Maine politics lovers may be able to shed more light on some questions I have:

Will Angus King run as an independent?

How far to the right will Pingree have to move to win enough of a vote in the 2nd District to put together a strong majority?

Who is the strongest GOP nominee with Raye out of the way? How strong is that person compared to Pingree?

I'm pretty excited about the idea of sending these two lovely Democrats to Washington. We need more women there. Plus, this might be just the seat that ends up destroying Republican hopes of gaining back the Senate this year.

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Comment Preferences

  •  My Guess if King runs (6+ / 0-)

    all bets are off. In fact if King runs it is more than likely he will win. Which won't be great, but won't be all that bad since he will probably caucus with the Dems. He has gotten far more liberal in his thinking over the years.

    Republican Family Values: Using the daughters from your first wife to convince everybody that your second wife is lying about your third wife.

    by jsfox on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 08:50:00 AM PST

    •  I agree. (6+ / 0-)

      He's a powerhouse, they're is no question about it. If he runs, it is pretty damn clear to me he'll carry the seat because he will get a lot of Democratic and Republican votes.

    •  But on the other hand, (5+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure King wants to go to a body that is so dysfunctional. Possible.

      •  Just as problematic for Chellie is a possible (4+ / 0-)

        Baldacci run. Anyone heard about that?  Baldacci, btw, is the blue dog asshole whose announcement that he would run for Governor back in 02, when Chellie's star was rising fast and when she was about to announce a Gov run herself (this was as King was finishing up), caused Chellie to reconsider a bloody intraparty battle and the damage it would cause.  Thus, she bravely decided to take on Collins; then 9/11 happened - and she still made a very respectable showing.

        Baldacci's tenure as Gov was a slow motion train wreck and he wouldn't stand a chance against her, but that wouldn't stop his self-absorbed ass from doing it if he thought he had half a chance.  A King run would be difficult for her, but King would actually split much of the GOP vote and Chellie could still come out on top in an obverse way that LePage did a few years ago.  

        But if Baldacci decided to jump in the primary, she'd be looking at going into the main event after having expended precious cash and energy needlessly against a blowhard, incompetent blue dog.  That would be a hard row to hoe and Baldacci knows it, and that would be his main incentive to run, thinking she would be likely to stand aside as she did in the '02 Gov race.

        Glad to hear Hannah is considering.  That means her mom is getting primed to jump in.  They better hurry.

        "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

        by nailbender on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 09:28:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  King is reportedly seriously considering: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Losty, where4art

          "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

          by nailbender on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 09:57:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  There's NO heat for Baldacci (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          where4art, Dvalkure
          But if Baldacci decided to jump in the primary, she'd be looking at going into the main event after having expended precious cash and energy needlessly against a blowhard, incompetent blue dog.
          He'd be lucky to put boots on the ground; a primary would be a low-cost cakewalk. Even informal online polls at local papers and such have her support at roughly double his. He's dreaming if he thinks he'll get any traction.

          "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

          by Vacationland on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:33:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well he's taken papers out. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            where4art

            He's mulling. Believe me when I say polling isn't an issue with him, just maneuvering space.

            "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

            by nailbender on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 03:08:20 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  don't ever be sanguine about Angus' motives. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, GussieFN, parsonsbeach, where4art

      He's of the same bent as Collins.  He was a conservative governor who had the luck to serve during the Clinton bubble.  He likes green energy because it make him money (which is fine) but his core belief system is somewhere between Lieberman and Snowe.  

      I saw him at the Market Basket in Camden last summer as he was waiting for an order to come up.  No one even acknowledged him or, as far as I could tell, recognized him.  I was pretty amazed.  Put Chellie in that same situation and she'd be mobbed, and loving it.

      "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

      by nailbender on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 09:33:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  to explain my assessment of him: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        where4art

        While he did some good stuff around conservation and green energy initiatives, he also was one of the first in the nation to attack the teachers union by demanding that they all submit to fingerprinting. He's of the Joe Lieberman school of selective liberalism.  ie, he's a blue dog independent.

        "Faced with what is right, to leave it undone shows a lack of courage." - Confucius -/- "Yeah, well, the Constitution is worth it if you succeed." - Nancy Pelosi

        by nailbender on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:02:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, but with some quirks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          where4art

          He's a strong proponent of creative economy, sinking some of his own money into arts ventures. Not a friend to the teachers because of the intrusive, unnecessary fingerprinting thing (it's MAINE for goshsakes; in most places here you can count major crimes on one hand and have fingers left over!) but he'd be less of a disaster than anyone the GOP runs.

          That said, still want Chellie to go for it.

          "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

          by Vacationland on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:18:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The GOP has a pretty weak field (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Woody, TofG, parsonsbeach, where4art, Dvalkure

    The candidates I've seen mentioned don't play well at all in the 1st District, and the Wingnut/Tea Party types seem to be celebrating the demise of "RINO" Snowe and arguing for the most hard-Right "real" Republican candidate they can find. In a state where a third of the electorate is not enrolled as a (D) or (R), that kind of candidate has no shot, unless the (D)-(I) coalition vote is split.

    The scenario they seem to like is having King (a popular Independent responsible for putting laptops in schools and currently working on renewable energy)---whom they consider a "Liberal Democrat"---run and split the Left/Progressive vote. Having some crossover appeal & securing the large number of independents is vital for all statewide candidates here; neither major party has a majority. King might siphon off some so-called moderates, and truth be told, he wouldn't be a disaster, but we'd obviously like to see Chellie run & win.

    Maine's not much for the bible-thumping, so social conservative arguments don't play well here, and Chellie's very solid on women's health. Most of us are pro-choice, or at least hands-off, government-has-no-business-interfering when it comes to that. Every woman I know is really pissed at Susan Collins right now for her Blunt Amendment vote. Chellie's also good on jobs and is a reliable progressive voter. If she tacked a little Right to secure some wavering middle-of-the-roaders, she's still be one of the more liberal voices in Congress.

    Potential drawback (or at least fodder for the GOP): she's married to a very rich guy From Away who just invested a big pile of money in the state's newspaper of record, so they will have to establish guidelines on coverage to avoid appearance of bias.

    "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

    by Vacationland on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 09:06:33 AM PST

  •  Don't like the optics of a two-fer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    I don't like political dynasties in general, and I know that I'm not alone.

    In this case, I don't think it will help Chellie Pingree if her daughter acts like a Bush, a Cuomo, or even a Kennedy. It just looks too much like "I inherited this position ..." Could be a tough act in Maine.

  •  What bothers me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BobBlueMass, where4art

    is that we are always talking (in races for every office across the country) about "how far to the right does she have to move" or "how far to the center" when we should be focusing "What are her constituents' interests?" and "What programs and policies benefit the district/state the most?"

    When we label, we lose, because for some reason, it's toxic to be "liberal," never mind  that most "liberal" stances poll exceedingly well and a badge of pride to be "conservative," even though no one wants what they're selling.

    Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

    by anastasia p on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 09:43:07 AM PST

    •  I see what you're saying... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      where4art, Dvalkure

      ...but this is less about progressive ideology in general, and more of a recognition of the unique circumstances of Maine politics, where fully a third of the electorate are deliberately unenrolled in either party. In this case, you serve the constituency less by radical shifts in policy positions, and more by nuanced labeling.

      In this state, there truly is a substantial self-identified "centrist" bloc of voters who need to be pulled into one camp or the other. These people may in fact hold very left-wing (or right-wing) views, but it is important to them to be seen as "independent" or "moderate." Reasonable. Rational folks with good old-fashioned common sense. They think of themselves as centrist, even if they're not.

      And their votes are less about party identity, and more about whether they agree with the label or message...which is why a [right-wing] "moderate" like Susan Collins (who votes along party lines >75% of the time) is perceived as a "reasonable" vote by (I) voters and even attracts Blue Dog Dems to her camp. If you see her ads, you'd swear she was a moderate-to-conservative Democrat who likes nothing more than to save health care options for children (instead of actually voting against them, which is what she DID once re-elected).

      In this case, it's about framing Chellie as someone a moderate (or even conservative) would vote for, because she has common-sense positions that we all agree on. Message, message, message.

      "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

      by Vacationland on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 10:31:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this whole discussion! (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this diary, BBB. And I love all the comments from people on the ground who know what they're talking about!

    I'm originally from Maine and have been wondering what's going on; no one's focused on this out here in California ;-)

  •  I'm bummed about Raye (0+ / 0-)

    continuing the assault on Michaud's seat. I have a feeling that's not going to go well. I did think Chellie could take him for the Senate seat.

    “Good things don’t come to those who wait. They come to those who agitate!” Julian Bond

    by Dvalkure on Fri Mar 02, 2012 at 01:18:09 PM PST

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