National Dems set sights on 5 Maine legislative races

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee on Thursday released a list of 60 legislative races in 23 states that the group is focusing on as it tries to help Democrats take control of state legislatures across the country.

The list of 60 key races includes five in Maine where Democrats are hoping to unseat the Republican incumbents who took over the seats from the Democrats in 2010.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has already invested tens of thousands of dollars in Democratic legislative efforts here. Campaign finance reports released last week show the group has contributed $175,000 to the Maine Democratic Party and the party’s two primary committees focused on House and Senate campaign efforts.

On the other side of the aisle, the Republican State Leadership Committee has contributed $220,000 to the Senate Republican Majority PAC, the primary GOP committee responsible for Senate campaign efforts.

The Maine races where the group is focusing its efforts are:

House District 128, where Democrats are trying to replace Rep. Heather Sirocki of Scarborough with Jean-Marie Caterina. Sirocki has been the target of other Democratic interests of late. The League of Conservation Voters recently put her on its national “Dirty Dozen” list of state-level candidates for her environmental record.

House District 139, where Democrats hope to unseat first-term Rep. Aaron Libby of North Waterboro. Joe Wagner is Libby’s challenger in that race.

Senate District 17, where Democrats are hoping to recapture the seat from Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon. Colleen Quint is the Democratic nominee in this race.

Senate District 25, which has garnered national publicity in recent days after the Maine Republican Party sent out a mailer and launched a website targeting Democrat Colleen Lachowicz of Waterville for online comments she made using her World of Warcraft persona. Lachowicz is trying to unseat first-term Sen. Tom Martin of Benton.

Senate District 32, where Democrats hope to unseat first-term Sen. Nichi Farnham and replace her with Democrat Geoffrey Gratwick. This race has received significant attention from both state parties. The Democrats last week filed a complaint with the state Ethics Commission alleging Farnham improperly coordinated an independent expenditure made on her behalf: a $73,000 TV ad buy from the Senate Republican Majority PAC targeting Gratwick. The same political committee on Thursday revealed it’s pumping $55,000 more into anti-Gratwick ads.