AUGUSTA (AP) – If there was ever any doubt about his intentions, Gov. John Baldacci made it clear Thursday that he plans to seek re-election.

Baldacci, addressing the question on a call-in show on Maine Public Radio, confirmed that he plans to run in 2006 and said he believes Mainers want to continue with what he characterized as his consensus-building leadership style.

Baldacci is at the midpoint of his term and just delivered his second State of the State address, touting his success in tackling the state’s high property taxes and bringing about low-cost health care for Mainers through Dirigo Health.

He is considering running as a taxpayer-financed candidate, under the state’s Clean Elections law, a spokesman said. But he hasn’t decided yet whether he will do so.

Democrats were predictably enthusiastic about Baldacci’s re-election prospects.

“He’s got some vision for the state that he’s outlined now and clearly what we heard on Tuesday night was there’s a real future in his policies for the state of Maine,” said House Majority Leader Glenn Cummings, D-Portland.

Baldacci was elected to the Blaine House two years ago after serving four terms in the U.S. House representing the 2nd Congressional District.

Political observers say Baldacci’s fortunes are linked in large part to the health of the state’s economy.

Another factor in his re-election hopes would be the strength of the candidate the GOP puts up against the incumbent governor. The Republican Baldacci beat two years ago, Peter Cianchette, has yet to rule out a second try.

Rick Bennett, a former president of the Maine Senate who’s still active in Republican politics, said Baldacci’s fortunes depend on how Mainers perceive his success in key areas like tax reform and Dirigo.

“I think it depends a lot on these two initiatives that the governor’s been sensationalizing,” he said.

AP-ES-01-27-05 1802EST



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