HALLOWELL — Charlotte Warren, the city’s ex-mayor, will run this year to represent Hallowell, West Gardiner and Manchester in the Maine House of Representatives.
The Democrat had been involved in Hallowell politics since 2001, when she joined the city council. She became mayor in 2009 and, running unopposed, won re-election in 2011 before declining to run last year.
She announced her candidacy in a statement Monday, saying she would “fight for good schools, access to health care, a higher minimum wage, a sustainable environment and a growing, prosperous, and business-friendly economy” in the Legislature.
“I’m a staunch advocate for others, I’m a consensus-builder and I think I’ll be an asset in the Legislature,” she said.
Warren’s run in House District 84, newly formed in last year’s redistricting process, will be her first try at public office outside Hallowell; but she’s no stranger to statewide politics, having been the associate director of the Maine Women’s Lobby, a liberal group that advocates for women and girls. She’s running as a privately financed candidate.
As mayor, Warren was outspoken on a number of wide-ranging issues, most notably in voicing opposition to eliminating state aid to municipalities. She was also a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-control advocacy group launched by ex-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Rep. Sharon Treat, D-Hallowell, is barred from running for re-election because of term limits. She told the Kennebec Journal last week that she won’t be running for the Senate in 2014.
Treat, a lawyer who co-chairs the Legislature’s Insurance and Financial Services committee, has served 11 of the last 12 legislative terms. This is her fourth straight term in the House of Representatives. She was a senator from 1996 to 2004 and served three House terms before that.
Warren is the second Hallowell politician to mount a legislative bid in 2014. David Bustin, also a Democrat, former mayor and city councilor, announced his run for the Senate last month.
He’s a Warren ally. She appointed him to the City Council last year and she sent the recent news release announcing his Senate candidacy.
Bustin also hired Warren to work on his unsuccessful 2012 Senate campaign. Records filed with the Maine Ethics Commission show Warren was paid $2,000 by Bustin’s taxpayer-funded campaign for “campaign management and consulting.”
Nobody but Warren has filed to run so far in District 84. Rita Moran and Curtis Ayotte, leaders of the Kennebec County Democratic and Republican committees, respectively, said they aren’t sure who else is planning to run. Party candidates must submit at least 25 signatures to the state by March 17 to have their names placed on the June 10 primary election ballot.
All things equal, the Democrat in the contest should be seen as the favorite, though Republicans could take it. The district leans slightly liberal, with 200 more Democrats than Republicans, according to August 2013 state voting data.
However, the newly formed district is slightly more conservative than the one Treat was last elected in. The substitution of Manchester for Farmingdale gives the district 142 fewer Democrats and only two fewer Republicans.
Even so, Warren said she’s seen support for her candidacy already, and she plans to use the coming weeks to introduce herself to voters, especially outside of Hallowell.
“Regardless of how anyone wants to project the district, I’m going to knock on every door,” she said.