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Politics

Maine AG Janet Mills Says She's Running for Governor

Janet Mills speaks to state workers protesting the Maine government shutdown, in Augusta, July 3, 2017.
FILE: Susan Sharon/Maine Public
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Janet Mills speaks to state workers protesting the Maine government shutdown, in Augusta, July 3, 2017.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills ended months of speculation today and announced she will run for governor. Mills is the fourth Democrat trying to replace Republican Paul LePage who is termed out as governor in 2018.

After filing the necessary paperwork to run for office, Mills made her decision official in a press release. Although the primary is not until next June, she says she needs to start raising money now and getting her message out to other Democrats in the months ahead. Mills says as she’s traveled across the state to participate in forums and meetings she’s heard a clear message from Mainers.

“They want a leader that unites rather than divides the people,” Mills says. “Someone who brings people together. We have seen, in recent weeks especially, a failure of leadership at the top here in Augusta. Leadership that thrives on polarization.”

In an interview with Maine Public Radio, Mills repeatedly criticized LePage’s policies and behavior as governor. The two have often clashed on issues and LePage has filed a lawsuit against her for refusing to represent him in federal court. Mills points out that her office is independent of the executive branch and that she was elected by the Legislature. She says her campaign will focus on her record as a district attorney, a state representative and as a three term attorney general.

“I have taken on the big Wall Street giants, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, the big pharmaceutical companies,” she says. “I have worked to protect consumers and citizens across the state and I want to carry on the effort in the highest office in the state.”

Mills acknowledges that it will be challenging to run for governor while continuing to serve as attorney general but she says she’s up to the task. She’ll run as a traditional candidate because of what she says is insufficient funding under the Clean Elections law to mount a strong campaign using that mechanism.

As a Democrat Mills will be facing off again Adam Cote, Patrick Eisenhardt and Betsy Sweet in the primary. There are also two Republicans, a Green and a Libertarian who have announced plans to run for governor.