Democrat Shenna Bellows, who lost to Republican Sen. Susan Collins in the 2014 U.S. Senate race, announced Friday that she is a candidate for the state Senate seat that represents Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Winthrop and other communities just outside Augusta.
Bellows’ announcement sets up a three-way Democratic primary race for the seat, which is being vacated by Republican Earle McCormick, who is not seeking re-election. Also on the ballot are Democrats Terry Berry of Hallowell and George O’Keefe Jr. of East Winthrop,
The winner of the Democratic primary in June, if all three candidates stay in the race until then, will likely face Republican Maureen Blanchard of Gardiner in the November general election. McCormick registered as the treasurer of Blanchard’s campaign on documents submitted to the Maine Ethics Commission.
Blanchard is the only Republican to file to run for the seat as of Friday. Potential legislative candidates who are affiliated with a party have until March 15 to file nomination papers with the secretary of state.
Bellows is the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and will run as a publicly financed candidate. She lives in Manchester with her husband, Brandon.
Maine Senate District 14 also includes Chelsea, Farmingdale, Monmouth, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield and West Gardiner.
Although Senate districts were redrawn before the 2014 elections, slightly shifting boundaries and renumbering each district, the district made up of Augusta bedroom communities has gone Republican in the past five elections, with McCormick and former Sen. Patrick Flood of Winthrop keeping it in the GOP column. The last Democrat to represent the region, then Senate District 21, was Scott Cowger, a Hallowell Democrat who chose not to seek re-election after winning his first term in 2004.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post had the history of Senate District 21 wrong.