Early endorsements go to Gov. Baldacci

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AUGUSTA (AP) – An endorsement parade that supporters hope will buoy the re-election campaign of Democratic Gov. John Baldacci has begun.

First to be registered in the Baldacci column is the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local S6, Bath Iron Works’ largest labor union representing more than 3,900 production employees at the shipyard.

“Throughout his term, the governor has regularly communicated with the local lodge and shipbuilders,” Local S6 President Michael Keenan said in a statement distributed Thursday evening by the Baldacci campaign.

“John personally handled discussions between BIW and Local S6 to help end any current and future threats of outside out-of-state contractors replacing state-of-Maine shipbuilders,” Keenan said.

On Friday, Baldacci received the official blessing of members of the Maine State Employees Association, the Service Employees International Union Local 1989.

MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 represents some 10,000 workers.

“Governor Baldacci has a strong record of standing up for all Maine workers. He led the effort that saved hundreds of jobs at Great Northern Paper in Millinocket. He led the coalition that successfully defended both the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and the Defense Finance and Accounting Service center in Limestone against the Pentagons efforts to close them,” MSEA President Dana Graham said in a statement. “Governor Baldacci shares the priorities of working families and retired workers.”

In a June 13 Democratic primary election, Baldacci faces former Dennis Kucinich activist Chris Miller of Gray, largely unknown at the state level.

Three Republicans hoping to take on Baldacci in November – former U.S. Rep. David Emery of St. George, state Sen. Peter Mills of Cornville and state Sen. Chandler Woodcock of Farmington – are seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in the Republican primary on June 13.

Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is running under the Green Independent banner and state Rep. Barbara Merrill of Appleton has qualified for the November ballot as an independent.

LaMarche, who garnered 7 percent of the vote in the 1998 gubernatorial race helping her party to gain official state recognition and was the national Green vice-presidential candidate in the 2004 presidential election, was scheduled to be the featured speaker at the Green party convention in Portland on Saturday.

Former President Bill Clinton is to visit Maine for Baldacci on June 5, attending an event at the Portland Marriott.

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, is scheduled to be at the Marriott Sable Oaks in South Portland on Sunday at a fundraising reception with Emery.

Mills and Woodcock, Emery’s election rivals, chose to run as publicly financed candidates forgoing most private donations.


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