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Politics

Bernie Sanders Campaign Opens Maine Headquarters

PORTLAND, Maine — Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign opened its new Maine headquarters here Wednesday.

Dozens turned out for the kickoff event in a building next door to the city's library.

Brian Spatafora of Appleton says he has been on board with Sanders' message for years.

"I always have been an advocate of virtually everything he says in his agenda," he says. "Income inequality; I think capitalism has to have some reins put back on it, some regulations, and left undone I think it's going to be harmful to our democracy."

Sanders' state director, Ben Collings, says the paid staff is playing catchup with enthusiastic volunteers.

"You know usually a campaign comes in and tries to build up supporters," he says. "It's the opposite — we're trying to harness their energy."

Campaign organizers say Sanders can beat rival Hillary Clinton in Maine's Democratic caucuses, which are scheduled for March 6. Short-term, they are looking for volunteers to help canvass across the border in New Hampshire, where voters head to the nation's first primary in less than a month.

Clinton has lined up solid support from Democratic party leaders, including U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and former Gov. John Baldacci. Sanders staff in Maine say they will release their list of endorsements from office-holders next week.

Clinton has yet to open a field office in Maine.