AUGUSTA — A powerful State House Republican says he will seek the nomination in Senate District 21 to replace Sen. Earle McCormick, R-West Gardiner, who announced Monday he has dropped out of the race.

Rep. Patrick Flood, R-Winthrop, House chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said after eight years in the House, he wants to continue serving as a legislator. Flood is prevented by term limits from seeking reelection to his House District 82 seat.

“Service in the Legislature is a matter of duty and responsibility to me,” he said in an email. “I hope I would be a suitable candidate but that decision rests in the capable hands of the District’s Republican Committee Caucus. I’ll give it my best effort.”

Republicans who live in the district, which covers 11 towns in Kennebec County, will need to meet in the coming weeks to choose a replacement for McCormick. A date has not yet been set, said Kim Pettengill, a member of the Kennebec County Republican Committee.

McCormick dropped out Monday, saying that after 10 years of service, it was time for someone else to step in. Parties have until July 30 to pick replacement candidates for the November ballot.

The GOP nominee will face David Bustin of Hallowell, a former state lawmaker and former mayor of Hallowell. Bustin won a Democratic primary last week against Priscilla Jenkins of Winthrop.

In his email, Flood acknowledged that there may be other Republicans interested in the nomination. But Flood is a strong candidate, a moderate Republican who has helped lead the state budget-writing committee and who is well regarded by both Democrats and Republicans.

Last year, Flood tried to resign as chairman of the committee when he was upset by a last-minute maneuver by party leaders during votes on a controversial health insurance bill. Flood felt Republican leadership tried to force a quick vote by the committee, a departure from the usual process.

Ultimately, the final Senate vote was delayed and House Speaker Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, convinced Flood to continue to serve as House chairman.

The Senate District 21 race is important to the overall strategy of both parties with all 35 seats being contested in November. Republicans hold a 19-15-1 majority in the chamber.

Four key GOP leaders are prevented from running again by term limits, including Senate President Kevin Raye of Perry, Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney of Springvale, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Debra Plowman of Hampden, and Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport, the Senate chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

Senate Democrats are losing five to term limits, including Sen. Bill Diamond of Windham and Sen. Barry Hobbins of Saco.

Susan Cover — 621-5643

[email protected]


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