This is completely unverified, but I am hearing buzz from multiple sources that tomorrow current Commissioner for the Department of Economic and Community Development, John Richardson, will be making his official announcement that he is running for Governor of Maine.
His entry into the race has been talked about for some time, but there had not been any significant buzz circulating around him for a while. However if my sources are correct, all that speculation will not matter anymore – he will be officially in.
The Brunswick Democrat previously served as the Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives in 2005 and 2006.
Richardson’s presence is significant for a number of reasons.
For one, he is a credible threat to win the nomination, so he further dilutes the pool of votes, leaving the winner with likely 20-30% of the vote. He will not be a non-factor like some of the other Democrats. Richardson would also be the eighth Democrat (and the fourth of what I would consider “major” or “credible” candidates) to join the race.
Additionally, he is yet another political insider on the Democratic side. He is now (incredibly) the third Democrat former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives (others being Libby Mitchell, Steve Rowe) to throw his or her hat in the ring for the Blaine House, and the second candidate (with Steve Rowe) with significant ties to John Baldacci.
Rosa Scarcelli must be smiling. This marks three different heavy hitter Augusta insiders who will be beating each other up for the establishment vote, and she still remains positioned as the outsider, the fresh face. Divide and conquer was her best path to the nomination, and things seem to be falling in exactly that direction for her.
Still, that won’t count for everything. While this is certainly good news for Scarcelli, it does not mean she will will. And if she doesn’t, that means that whoever does will almost certainly be an insider Democrat with extensive government experience, an established record, and ties to either the unpopular Baldacci, or the mostly unpopular Maine government of the past decade or two.
Given that the Republicans look to be increasingly ready to nominate an outsider business candidate with no record to run against, and given the possibility (or even liklihood) that Eliot Cutler will be siphoning off votes from the left, the chances of Maine seeing a Republican governor have dramatically increased.
Still, this is politics we are talking about. Anything can happen, and there are still a phew elephants (and donkeys) in the room who haven’t announced if they too will join the fun.
And of course, as I said in the beginning – this is little more than a rumor at this point, so if Richardson doesn’t announce tomorrow, don’t crucify me.
UPDATE: Richardson’s Announcement: