Legislators shift focus to choosing leaders

As a new crop of lawmakers prepare to take the oath of office early next month, one of their first tasks will be to choose their leaders.

Here’s the rundown so far of lawmakers who have thrown their hats into the ring for leadership posts.

In the House, the majority Democrats will choose from four candidates for speaker, two for majority leader and three for assistant majority leader during a caucus meeting on Tuesday. The House Democratic office confirmed the following legislators are interested in the following roles:

House Speaker

  • Rep. Terry Hayes of Buckfield, who’s currently the assistant House minority leader. Hayes was locked in a tight race following Tuesday’s elections. Unofficial results show she’s leading Republican Timothy Turner by 35 votes. Republicans are likely to request a recount of the vote tally in that race.
  • Rep. Mark Eves of North Berwick, who’s currently the ranking Democrat on the Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.
  • Rep. Mike Carey of Lewiston, who’s currently the ranking Democrat on the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee. He’ll be serving his fourth term in the House.
  • Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, who also serves on the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee.

House Majority Leader

  • Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, who’s currently the ranking Democrat on the Legislature’s Taxation Committee. He’ll be serving his fourth term in the House.
  • Rep. Mark Dion of Portland, who will be serving his second term in the House. Dion is the retired Cumberland County sheriff.

Assistant Majority Leader

  • Rep. Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, who’s currently the ranking Democrat on the Legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.
  • Rep. Jim Dill of Old Town, who will be serving his second term in the House.
  • Rep. Anne Graham of North Yarmouth, who will be serving her second term in the House.

Senate Democrats will also choose their leaders — Senate president, majority leader and assistant majority leader — on Tuesday. So far, there’s only one candidate for each of those roles.

Senate President

  • Sen. Justin Alfond of Portland, who will be serving his third term. He’s served as assistant majority leader for the past two years.

Majority Leader

  • Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond, who will be serving his third term in the Senate.

Assistant Majority Leader

  • Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash, who will be serving his third term in the Senate.

The House Republican caucus plans to pick its leaders Wednesday. There are two contenders for House minority leader and four for assistant minority leader.

House Minority Leader

  • Rep. Paul Davis of Sangerville, a former senator who has chaired the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee for the past two years.
  • Rep. Kenneth Fredette of Newport, who will be serving his second term in the House. He’s served on the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee for the past two years and is a former member of the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Assistant House Minority Leader

  • Rep.-elect Brian Duprey of Hampden, who is returning to the Legislature after a four-year absence. He defeated independent Kelly Bickmore on Tuesday.
  • Rep. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea, who is returning to the House for a second term. She won a close contest for re-election Tuesday, fending off a challenge from former Democratic Rep. Lisa Miller of Somerville.
  • Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake of Turner, who is returning for a second term.
  • Rep. Alexander Willette of Mapleton, who’s also returning for a second term.

Senate Republicans on Friday chose Sen. Michael Thibodeau of Winterport as minority leader and Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta as assistant minority leader. There was no competition for either post.