Independents file signatures to run for governor and 2nd Congressional District
Maine's political races for governor and Congress are getting a little more crowded now that independents have turned the contests into three-way races.
Last week, physician Sam Hunkler of Beals submitted enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot along with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and former Republican Gov. Paul LePage. And on Monday, independent Tiffany Bond filed enough signatures to run in Maine's 2nd Congressional District this fall.
Tuesday was the deadline for unenrolled or independent candidates to file signatures from registered voters with the Secretary of State Shenna Bellows’ Office in order to qualify for the November ballot.
The Secretary of State’s Office said a fourth potential independent candidate for governor, Ethan Alcorn, filed petitions late Wednesday afternoon but a review found he had failed to gather the 4,000 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
Interested parties have until June 8, however, to formally challenge any of those signatures with Bellows’ office.
Bond is an attorney who finished third in the four-person race for the 2nd District seat in 2018. But because Maine used ranked-choice voting for the first time that year, Bond's supporters helped propel Democrat Jared Golden past incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the final vote count.
Golden is running for a third term, and Poliquin is seeking the Republican nomination later this month along with Liz Caruso of Caratunk. So if Poliquin wins the GOP nomination, this year's slate of contenders for the 2nd District seat could look similar to 2018, minus one other independent. Having three contenders on the 2nd District ballot means voters will have the opportunity to rank their candidates in order of preference. The ranked-choice process only comes into play if none of the three candidates receive more than 50 percent during the first tally of votes.
Voters will not be able to rank the three gubernatorial candidates, however, because ranked-choice voting is not currently used in the general election for governor in Maine.
Both Bond and Hunkler are pledging to run low-budget campaigns. Meanwhile, the national parties are expected to spend millions of dollars to support the Republican and Democratic candidates in the races for governor and Congress.