AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The union representing Maine state workers is putting their support behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for Maine governor.

The Maine State Employees Association said on Thursday that Michaud's advocacy for affordable health care among other things earned him their endorsement in the 2014 election.

ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) _ The former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has formally launched her campaign for U.S. Senate.

Shenna Bellows, who's seeking the Democratic Party nomination to challenge three-term Republican Susan Collins, told supporters Wednesday in Ellsworth that the nation needs more ``courage and honesty'' in Washington.

She held the kickoff event in Ellsworth, next to the town of Hancock, where she grew up. That's being followed by events in Portland, Lewiston and Eliot, along with a rally Thursday in Presque Isle.

An outspoken civil rights advocate is reportedly within days of announcing her decision to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins next year. Shenna Bellows, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, will seek the Democratic nomination to become Maine's next U.S. senator, according to well-placed State House sources. Bellows faces an uphill battle against the three-term Collins, who won her last election with more than 60 percent of the vote.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The Assistant GOP Leader in Maine's State House says he is suspending his campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Rep. Alex Willette of Mapleton announced his decision in an email to supporters on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old says he believes that his energy will be better spent "helping Republicans win Maine's 2nd, working to keep the Governor's mansion and retaking the majority in the legislature.'' He says the race is a chance for Republicans to send a fiscal conservative to Washington to stop out-of-control spending.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye says he's running for Maine's open 2nd Congressional District Seat and plans a formal announcement after Labor Day.

Earlier this week, former Republican state treasurer Bruce Poliquin announced his candidacy. Raye, also a Republican, said at the time he wasn't ready to make an announcement. But he confirmed Thursday to The Portland Press Herald that he intends to run. Also in the race is Republican Blaine Richardson of Belfast.

FALMOUTH, Maine (AP) _ Democrat Mike Michaud's only primary challenger is dropping out of the governor's race, clearing Michaud's path to his party's nomination.

Steve Woods, a Democratic businessman and Town Council chairman in Yarmouth, said Wednesday he's ending his campaign and throwing his support behind the congressman from Maine's 2nd District.

Woods was the first candidate to announce his campaign, gathered with Michaud gathered for his announcement at Woods' marketing and event-planning business, TideSmart, outside Portland.

  Car Talk, MPBN-style. Host Jonathan Smith and Automotive Editor for US News & World Report Jamie Page Deaton discuss the latest news from the world of automobiles and answer listener questions about which car to buy and how to get the best deal.

This call-in program was hosted by Jonathan Smith, who, along with the listening public, directed questions to Ms. Deaton about the automotive industry.

  Architect and businessman Chuck Durrett and journalist Deirdre Fulton discuss Cohousing, which is a type of collaborative housing wher residents actively participate in the design and operation of their own neighborhoods. Cohousing residents are consciously committed to living as a community. The physical design encourages both social contact and individual space.

This call-in program was hosted by Keith Shortall, who, along with the listening public, directed questions to Chuck Durrett and journalist Dierdre Fulton about the concept of cohousing.

  Colin Woodard of Portland is the author of "American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America."" During this call-in program he discussed the 11 distinct nations of North America outlined in his book. According to Woodard, each has its own cultural and ideological DNA that still defines them today.

This call-in program was hosted by Keith Shortall, who, along with the listening public, directed questions to Mr. Woodard about the concept underlying the thesis of his book.