Signature watch for U.S. Senate race

AUGUSTA, Maine — The official deadline is not until Thursday, but the slate of U.S. Senate candidates who have submitted the requisite signatures to get on the ballot is growing.

Republicans Rick Bennett, a former state Senate president from Oxford, and Scott D’Amboise, a small businessman from Lisbon Falls, each turned in more than 2,000 signatures on Monday to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“These signatures represent a tremendous effort on the part of the Bennett for Senate campaign, and I am humbled by the efforts of our volunteers across Maine,” Bennett said in a statement.

D’Amboise, who was in the Senate race even before Olympia Snowe announced that she would not seek reelection, also praised his team.

“The 2,000 signatures that we submitted today were gathered from a very diverse group of Mainers, just like you: farmers, fishermen, mill workers, IT professionals, veterans, doctors, nurses, lawyers, small businessmen and women, first-time caucus goers and everyone else in between,” he said in a statement.

Additionally, a spokesman for former two-term Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, said Monday that volunteers have gathered more than 2,000 signatures to put him on the ballot, but those signatures have not been turned in.
Dan Cashman, speaking for Baldacci, said the former governor and U.S. House member is still weighing his decision carefully.
Several other candidates have been gathering signatures to run for the Senate seat including: Democrats Matt Dunlap, the former secretary of state, state Sen. Cynthia Dill, state Rep. Jon Hinck, and homebuilder Benjamin Pollard; and Republicans Charlie Summers, the current secretary of state, Bruce Poliquin, the state treasurer, William Schneider, the attorney general, and Debra Plowman, the assistant majority leader of the state Senate.
If most or all candidates get in, both major parties could field competitive and hotly contested primaries, particularly on the Republican side.
Independent Angus King, a former two-term governor from 1995-2003, has said he’s running, but he does not have to submit his signatures until June.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee already is targeting King — and Democrats — by alleging in a new television ad that King brokered a deal with the Dems to run for the seat. Both King and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee dispute that claim.