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Next time there’s an open Senate seat, local operatives say, Rep. Chellie Pingree would clear the Democratic field. As a result, her seat in the state’s more left-leaning district would attract a bevy of Democratic candidates.
“We’d literally have every single Democrat running,” one Maine Democratic operative joked.
Pingree’s daughter, former state Speaker Hannah Pingree, was mentioned as a top-tier candidate for her mother’s seat someday. Other potentially strong Democratic candidates include state Speaker Mark Eves and Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant.
Former state Sen. Ethan Strimling, a Democrat who lost to Pingree in the 2008 primary, was also mentioned as a possible candidate.
Republicans listed Ruth Summers, wife of failed 2012 GOP Senate candidate and former Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, as an attractive candidate for that race. She is a veteran who campaigned for her husband while he was serving in Iraq in 2010.
But GOP operatives lamented the thin bench of candidates in the 1st District, which is already a tough one for Republicans to win.
“It’s just an extremely Democratic district,” one GOP operative said. “Honestly, I think a serious Republican that wanted to run for Congress in Maine would find a home in the 2nd District.”
Farm Team is a weekly, state-by-state look at the up-and-coming politicos who may eventually run for Congress.