An outgoing Democratic lawmaker and a Republican lobbyist are gearing up to challenge Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes and Attorney General Janet Mills when the Legislature returns to Augusta for swearing-in day on Wednesday.
Those are the only two expected races for Maine’s constitutional officer positions, to be decided in a secret-ballot vote of the 186-member Legislature, which will be closely divided with 94 Democrats to 90 Republicans and two independents.
The incumbents could be favored, but the margin assures close races. Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, is running against Hayes, a former Democratic legislative leader turned independent from Buckfield, while Mills, a Democrat from Farmington, is facing former Republican legislative leader and lobbyist Josh Tardy of Newport.
Hayes beat an incumbent Democrat in 2014 after she was nominated by Republicans, winning enough Democrats to put her over the top. Senate President Mike Thibodeau, R-Winterport, has said he’ll nominate her again.
Both Hayes and Goode predicted close races on Monday. Hayes said she has “yet to talk to anyone who has any major criticism of my job performance,” saying she wants to continue a project around bringing more transparency to state bond sales.
Goode, a staunch progressive who is term-limited in the House of Representatives and co-chaired the Legislature’s tax committee, said he’ll be vocal and available to lawmakers on financial issues.
“If there are moments where the finances of the state are being used for political reasons, it’ll be my job as state treasurer to communicate that reality to the Maine people,” he said.
Tardy didn’t return a message seeking comment on Monday, but Thibodeau said the former House minority leader intends to run, calling him a “formidable candidate.” Last month, Tardy was pessimistic about his chances, saying “the Democrats will have barely, but enough” to elect their officers.