Democratic candidates for the Maine State Senate say that their campaigns have received a boost from former President Barack Obama.
Included in Obama’s first wave of endorsements Wednesday, issued via Twitter, were Louis Luchini of Ellsworth; Linda Sanborn of Gorham and Laura Fortman, of Nobleboro. Two of the candidates say they were completely surprised by the endorsement.
Today I’m proud to endorse such a wide and impressive array of Democratic candidates – leaders as diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted as the America they’re running to represent: pic.twitter.com/gWzalQhFas
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 1, 2018
In all, Obama announced his support for 81 midterm election candidates across the nation in this first round. In Hancock County, where Republican Rep. Richard Malaby and Democratic Rep. Louis Luchini are battling for an open senate seat, the Obama tweet came as a welcome surprise for Luchini.
"I'm certainly honored to get the endorsement, and I think that, really, the gridlock in Washington, D.C. has placed a bigger emphasis on electing leaders at the state level," Luchini said. "So I think this is another example that people are really focusing on state level races now and trying to find leaders who are willing to listen to the people they represent and fight hard for their districts."
Obama did not mention President Trump by name, but he did say he was selecting candidates to endorse who he believed would fight for shared opportunity, help repair alliances abroad and further a commitment to justice. The president described his choices as "diverse, patriotic, and big-hearted."
In Senate District 30, former Democratic state Rep. Linda Sanborn of Gorham, is challenging incumbent Republican state Sen. Amy Volk of Scarborough. Sanborn says the president's endorsement will be well-received in her district.
"I certainly have the greatest respect for President Obama, and he contrasts so drastically with our current president," Sanborn said.
At Republican state headquarters in Augusta, Executive Director Jason Savage dismissed Obama's tweet as merely an attempt to remain relevant. Savage says that the state Senate candidates' positions on the issues are apt to carry more weight than an endorsement from a former president.