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Sanford Attorney, Veteran Announces Run for Maine Governor's Seat

Cal McKenzie
Adam Cote, in front of the Sanford Mill in his hometown of Sanford.

Sanford attorney and National Guardsman Adam Cote says he’s running for governor next year.

Cote hopes an economic-focused message, a decorated military career and his outsider status will appeal to Democratic primary voters — and eventually general election ones. He also hopes his candidacy will re-energize a Maine Democratic Party that has not fared well in recent statewide elections.

Democrats have suffered big losses in areas hit hard by mill closures while also losing ground in typical Democratic strongholds.

“But the real focus that I’m going to make in my campaign I think transcends party politics and it focuses on people’s lives. At the end of the day, that’s why I’m running. It’s about service, it’s about a sense of giving back,” he says.

Cote has worked in renewable energy between multiple deployments on
combat tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia during 20 years serving in
the Maine National Guard. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service
in Afghanistan.

At age 44, Cote has been out of Maine politics for nearly a decade. But in 2008, he vaulted from relative obscurity to an impressive second-place finish in the six-way Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District.

The seat now belongs to U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who has held it ever since fending off Cote nine years ago. At the time, Cote used his business and military experience to court voters disillusioned by the war in Iraq and a tanking economy.

It’s unclear how Cote’s moderate bonafides resonates with Democratic primary voters. The Democratic field is expected to be a crowded one, with candidates vying for the support of activists already engaged in the resistance to President Donald Trump.

But Cote is already emphasizing issues typically at the forefront for all Maine voters: jobs and the economy.