Sunday, May 26, 2013
BY GLENN ADAMS, Associated Press
AUGUSTA -- Maine Democrats kicked off the 2012 campaign season Sunday with a promise of a making comeback in state politics as they held their party caucuses in cities and towns across the state.
"Maine Democrats are energized," said Ben Grant, chairman of the Maine Democratic Party, who called the caucuses "the next step in our comeback, where we will continue expanding our grassroots networks every corner of Maine."
Democrats lost their long-held grip on power in the State House is 2010, as they lost majorities in both houses of the Legislature and Republican Paul LePage won the governorship.
Republicans have gotten most of the attention this caucus season in Maine, given their party's competitive four-way race for presidential nominee. The attention was heightened by a controversy over counting of votes in Washington County, where the Feb. 11 caucuses were delayed a day by a snowstorm. In the end, Mitt Romney secured the most votes in what amounts to a straw poll.
For the Democrats, President Barack Obama is all but certain to win in Sunday's presidential selection vote, although the results won't be released until late March, according to party officials.
But there's a lot of other business to attend to on Sunday. Participants selected delegates to the Democratic State Convention, scheduled for June 1-3 at the Augusta Civic Center. State convention delegates will in turn elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention Sept. 3-6 in Charlotte, N.C.
At the statewide caucuses, Maine Democrats elected municipal officers and county committee members, and discussed national and local policy issues. Democratic candidates, including both of Maine's U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, planned to attend multiple caucuses to meet party activists and organizers.
Party Chairman Grant predicted heavy turnouts despite the uncontested presidential caucus. Democrats hold all of their caucuses on one day rather than allowing them to be held over the specified period, as the Republicans do.