With the American public-at-large already suffering from a
bit of campaign fatigue, I was both surprised and not to hear that the League of Young Voters had scheduled a
legislative candidate debate for last night. Surprised that we’re already
focusing on state house races, not surprised because, well, election cycles are
year-long affairs these days.
Regardless, last night’s debates -- between candidates
running for state representative (of Districts 114 and 120) and state senator
(District 8) -- offered a good introduction to the upcoming races.
First up were the candidates for state rep – Justin Costa v.
Stuckey for D114 (part of Portland that
includes the islands and off-peninsula), and Ed
Democracy and Diane
Russell-Natera for D120 (the Old Port and the East End).
Each candidate answered questions from the sponsoring organizations – the League,
USM PIRG, and the Portland Community Television Network – as well as questions
from the audience. Later, the three candidates running to represent Portland in the state senate followed the same debate format.
Here are some initial impressions.
The District 114 race will be one of upstart idealism
(Costa) versus older wisdom (Stuckey). Don't they look like grandpa and
(Sorry so dark.) Democracy said he and Russell-Natera have
pledged to make theirs a campaign of issues.
From left to right, Cliff Ginn (a founder of Opportunity Maine), Anne Rand (a
small-business owner and state legislator), and Justin Alfond (who founded
branch of the League, and served as its director for four years).
Rand, who’s already served several terms in the State House,
had best not sit back and expect her experience to speak for her. Both Alfond
and Ginn are slick, smart politicians, who know what to say, and when to say it.