AUGUSTA — Maine’s political parties and voters in the 22-town Senate District 20 are awaiting word on whether there will be a special election to replace Sen. David Trahan.

Trahan, R-Waldoboro, will announce Wednesday whether he will resign his Senate District 20seat to become executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, according to a news release from the Senate Republican Majority Office.

He did not return a call to his home on Monday.

Trahan met with the Sportsman’s Alliance board Monday to discuss compensation for the position of executive director, which he accepted in principle last month.

Trahan said at the time he would probably resign in September. The Secretary of State’s Office must wait for his official resignation before scheduling a special election.

A logger by trade, Trahan, 48, has served three years in the Senate after eight years in the House.

His term ends in December 2012.

Ethics commission Executive Director Jonathan Wayne said Monday that Trahan has consulted with him about whether he should resign his Senate seat immediately upon starting his new job, step down in January, or finish his term.

The Legislature will reconvene in September to address congressional redistricting. Trahan also has expressed a desire to work more on tax reform.

It appears as though Trahan has attempted to find a way to hold both positions.

Wayne said Trahan has suggested that the Sportsman’s Alliance could hire someone else to lobby the Legislature — which has traditionally been part of the executive director’s job — and he could give up his seat on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee and seek to avoid influencing bills that interest the Sportsman’s Alliance.

Wayne has strongly recommended against Trahan completing his term, and noted that the Legislature has advised members to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest — conflicts that could arise if Trahan serves until January or later.

But if Trahan remains in the Senate and abstains from working on bills relating to hunting, fishing and other sportsmen’s activities, that would leave his district without a voice in the legislative process.

“The commission staff wonders whether such a potentially large number of recusals would be consistent with fulfilling your constitutional responsibilities as a state senator,” Wayne wrote to Trahan.

Legislators occasionally seek informal counsel about whether their private employment causes a conflict of interest, Wayne said.

The last formal advisory the Ethics Commission issued, in March 2010, dealt with Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, and his wife’s work as an attorney representing wind power businesses. The commission did not find a conflict.

In addition to the possible conflict of interest, Trahan has bemoaned the state of Maine politics. He told the Kennebec Journal last month the Legislature, including his own party, had become “harsher in tone.”

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said the party looks forward to contesting Trahan’s seat, whether this year or next.

Grant said the party’s “Get Real Maine” listening tour will likely visit the district, which includes Somerville, Whitefield and Windsor.

Grant said Trahan should step down once he joins the Sportsman’s Alliance.

“There’s no doubt that he should resign when he assumes that role,” he said. “SAM is a well-known and important presence in the State House, and there’s no way to do that job without it conflicting the with the responsibilities of the legislator.”

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster did not immediately return calls on Monday.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.