Just got back from Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean's appearance at One Longfellow Square. Local political luminaries in attendance included Democratic candidate for Congress Chellie Pingree, State Senate candidate Justin Alfond, Speaker of the Maine House Glenn Cummings, and State House candidate Diane Russell. After brief intros from Cummings and Pingree, Dean took the stage to encourage grassroots involvement in Maine as part of his 50 State Strategy.
He hyped the Neighborhood Volunteer Program, which recruits activists to knock on the doors of 25 of their closest neighbors. Research shows that door-knocking is one of the most effective campaign methods (especially when the knocker and the knockee know each other).
The event was basically just a campaign rally for the party, but here are a few items worth noting:
--- It seems as though the only race the Democrats are really concerned about in Maine is the one between Representative Tom Allen and Senator Susan Collins. The Collins-as-Bush-enabler line was repeated in several incarnations.
--- You could hear crickets chirping when Dean took a moment to praise the hard work and of Hillary Clinton and her supporters. Were there no former Hillary-ites in the audience?
--- My favorite moment: When Dean likened the field of Republican presidential candidates to "1950s-era daytime soap opera television" stars.