While most candidates in southern Maine are assured of getting their party’s nomination during the Maine state primary this Tuesday, June 14, a few Democrats and Republicans have to compete for it if they hope to run in the general election this fall.
Along coastal York County, there are three party races that voters will decide Tuesday. All are for the Maine House of Representatives.
House District 134
In Kennebunkport, Republicans Elizabeth Jordan and Ronald Russell both have their sights set on the GOP nomination in the race against Democratic incumbent state Rep. Traci Gere this fall. Gere is unopposed for the Democrats’ nod.
The district comprises Kennebunkport and parts of Kennebunk and Biddeford.
During an interview earlier this week, Jordan said she is distinguished in this two-way party race by her determination to fight.
“To me, the times we’re in, we have to be ready to fight,” she said. “I love our state. I feel we are on the verge of losing our state. I just don’t feel it’s time for the status quo.”
Jordan said her main concern, the one on which she will focus if elected, is inflation and the high cost of living in Maine. Taxes, gas prices and food prices are too high, she said. It’s all enough that Jordan – a widow on a single income – said she is concerned the time may soon come when she can no longer afford to live in Maine.
“We need to cut taxes,” she said.
Jordan was born and raised in Maine. She and her husband and their three children lived in Virginia for many years. She returned to her home state in 2017, following the death of her husband, according to her campaign website.
She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and spent much of her adult life as a homemaker, mother, and community volunteer.
Earlier this week, Russell said he is distinguished as a candidate by his 30 years of service in the United States Army and by his years as a small business owner. The military service, he said, taught him how to develop coalitions and arrive at compromises. His years as owner of Far Ridgeline Engagements, a consulting firm, made him understand the impact of taxes and the benefits of tax breaks, he said.
Russell said the most pressing issue in District 134, in Maine, and throughout the country is parochialism, the tendency people have of “sticking to their parties.” He said individuals have differing opinions – you could have a Democrat who might be against abortion and a Republican who is pro-choice, for example – but you would not know that from the votes that are routinely cast.
“That’s what I think needs to be fixed,” he said. “No decision should be decided along party lines.”
Russell cited gun control as another issue in which people are locked into their party’s line. He said he is a lifelong member of the National Rifle Association, which he said promotes the responsible use of weapons. On the subject of keeping children safe at schools, Russell said each side of the political divide is taking too singular an approach in seeking a solution.
“You have to look at things in a different way and compromise slightly to get results,” he said. “There are some common-ground solutions in there somewhere.”
House District 141
Democrats John McAdam and Patricia Kidder, of Sanford, are competing for their party’s nomination in the race for House District 141. Lucas Lanigan, also of Sanford, is seeking the GOP nod in this race and is uncontested. The district includes Newfield and Shapleigh and part of Sanford.
McAdam, who owns McDougal Orchards in Springvale with his wife, Ellen, cites his experiences as a farmer and his career as a captain with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as what distinguishes him in his bid for the Democratic nod in his district. He also mentioned his record of community service in Sanford – he is vice chair of the local planning board, managed the Sanford Farmers Market for a decade, was once an election clerk and a town meeting member, and sits on the board for the Nasson Community Center, for a few examples.
McAdam emphasized environmental priorities when asked where he would apply his focus if he wins both his party’s nomination and the election.
“As a farmer, I see climate change first-hand here,” he said, speaking from his home at the orchard.
McAdam said he is concerned about what the climate will be like when his newborn grandchild grows up. As a legislator, he said he would be committed to helping to ensure that Maine Won’t Wait, Gov. Janet Mills’ four-year plan to address climate change, is fully pursued.
McAdam also said he would focus on eliminating food insecurity in Maine.
Attempts to reach Kidder by phone and through social media were unsuccessful. However, statements she made during her previous run for the State House in the fall of 2020 suggest what her priorities could be if she secures the Democratic nomination and is elected in November.
In a Q&A she filled out for the York County Coast Star, Kidder, a self-employed bookkeeper and tax return preparer, named rising property taxes, a lack of living-wage jobs, and high utility bills as top concerns faced by the district. She spoke in support of full revenue sharing and full education funding by the state, Renew New England’s goal of creating living-wage jobs in the field of renewable, green energy, and a consumer-owned utility to replace Central Maine Power.
In civic and political matters, Kidder has been involved with the Maine People’s Alliance and the Maine Unitarian Universalist State Advocacy Network and has volunteered in numerous capacities at the Sanford Unitarian-Universalist Church, according to a bio she provided the Coast Star.
House District 146
In House District 146, Democrats Heath Ouellette, of Ogunquit, and Walter Runte, of York, are squaring off on their party’s ballot on Tuesday, whereas Republican Bradley Moulton, of York, is the lone candidate seeking the GOP nomination.
The district consists of Ogunquit and parts of Wells and York.
Ouellette, who has a Facebook page, Heath Ouellette for Maine House of Representatives, is currently the chair of the Ogunquit Select Board. He states his roots and his history of work and volunteering throughout Maine as the strengths that distinguish him in his race for the HD 146 nomination.
Ouellette, who owns several local inns and is a Realtor, was born in Van Buren, graduated from Hampden Academy and the University of Maine at Farmington, and once lived in Cumberland, Oxford and Franklin counties, where he said he was involved in nonprofit work and social service programs.
“That gives me a unique perspective of our state,” Ouellette said in an interview on Monday. “It’s important for people who represent our district to have a broader understanding of the state.”
Ouellette described himself as practical, as a listener and as someone who works with various people. He also said he believes in improving diversity at the state level.
“I understand what it takes to be an elected official and to get things done,” he said, referring to his terms on the local select board.
If he gets his party’s nomination and is later elected, Ouellette said he would focus on the economy, particularly on affordability and rising costs, and on the environment, quality child care access for working families, equity for women and the LGBTQ+ community, and the strength of small businesses, to name a few issues.
“The state of our economy should be the top priority of those elected to go to Augusta,” he said.
In his interview with the Coast Star, Runte emphasized protecting the environment and acting to address climate change as his top priorities. He said his education, career and community involvement on those two issues distinguish him in his two-way race with Ouellette.
Runte is a U.S. Army veteran and and a graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in math and chemistry and a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from Pennsylvania State University. He also earned a graduate certificate in community planning and sustainable development from the University of Southern Maine.
He spent much of his career in the electric utility industry and in the clean energy sector. Eight years ago, he and his wife moved to York, where she has roots, to raise their children. In the time since, Runte has served as a member of the town’s Energy Steering Committee and Planning Board. Currently, he is chairing the town’s Climate Action Plan Steering Committee.
In addition to environmental issues, Runte said he also would make housing his focus if he wins his party’s nomination next week and is elected in November. He said he learned a lot about the subject during his time on the planning board.
Going door to door as a candidate, Runte said his emphases on climate, the environment, energy and electricity, and housing seem to connect with voters.
“My focus on those four issues seem to resonate with the people I speak with,” he said.
Uncontested state Senate races
Democratic incumbent Sen. Henry Ingwersen, of Arundel, and Republican David Corbett, of Lyman, are seeking their party’s nominations for Maine Senate District 32, which comprises Arundel, Lyman, Dayton, Hollis and Biddeford.
Republican Matthew Harrington, of Sanford, who is “terming out” as a state representative, and Democrat Kendra Williams, of Sanford, are seeking their party’s nod for SD 33, comprising Sanford, Lebanon, Alfred and Waterboro.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Joseph Rafferty, of Kennebunk, and Republican Brad Ducharme, of Kennebunk, are seeking their party’s nomination in SD 34, which consists of Berwick, North Berwick, and parts of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Wells.
And, lastly, Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Lawrence, of Eliot, and Republican Julie Rakic, of Kittery, are pursuing their party’s nominations in SD 35, which comprises South Berwick, Eliot, and parts of York, Kittery, and Ogunquit.
Uncontested House District (HD) Races
Republican Todd DiFede and Democrat Dan Sayre, of Kennebunk, are seeking their party’s nominations in HD 135, which is comprised of Kennebunk.
Republican incumbent State Rep. Wayne Parry and Democrat Kirstan Watson, both of Arundel, are seeking their party’s nomination in HD 140, which consists of Arundel and Dayton and part of Lyman.
Democrat Joseph Hanslip and Republican Pamela Buck, both of Sanford, are pursuing their party’s nominations in HD 142, which is comprised of part of Sanford.
Democrat Wes Davie and Republican Matthew Toth, both of Sanford, are seeking their party’s nomination for HD 143, which consists of part of Sanford.
Republican incumbent State Rep. Tim Roche and Democrat Dan Hobbs, both of Wells, are seeking their party’s nomination in HD 145, which is comprised of part of Wells.
Republican David Koopman and Democrat Holly Sargent, both of York, are pursuing their party’s nomination in HD 147, which consists of part of York.
Democratic incumbent State Rep. Tiffany Roberts, of South Berwick, and Republican Mark Rouillard, of North Berwick, are seeking their party’s nomination in HD 149, which is comprised of parts of South Berwick and North Berwick.
Democratic incumbent State Rep. Michele Meyer and Republican David Rumery, both of Eliot, are seeking their party’s nomination in HD 150, which consists of Eliot and parts of South Berwick and Kittery.
And, lastly, Democratic incumbent State Rep. Kristi Mathieson and Republican Howard Patten, both of Kittery, are pursuing their party’s nominations in HD 151, which consists of most of Kittery.