AUGUSTA — Attorney and former state Senate majority leader Philip Bartlett is the new face of the Maine Democratic Party.

He was elected party chairman Sunday afternoon at a meeting where about 100 Democrats came to talk about the results of the Nov. 4 election where the party lost representation in both the Senate and the House and where only one of the top-of-the-ticket offices went to a Democrat.

After his election, Bartlett, 38, of Gorham, told fellow Democrats he had a strategy for moving forward.

“I truly believe the Democratic Party’s best days are ahead of it,” he said, speaking in a large conference room at the Gov. Hill Mansion in Augusta.

Bartlett was nominated by state Sen. Troy Jackson of Aroostook.

Bartlett’s only opposition was Melissa Sterry of Augusta, who had challenged Ben Grant previously for the office. Grant submitted his resignation as party chairman on Nov. 6 and conducted the beginning of Sunday’s meeting.


Bartlett took the remainder of the business meeting as soon as he was elected.

In his three-minute pre-election speech, Bartlett said he had a three-point agenda that he would use to lead the party: understand what happened in the recent election; cultivate grassroots efforts and support Democrats at the municipal and county level, offering training designed to elect more Democrats to office; and expand the party and build the base.

“I’m running because I believe in you and because I believe in core Democratic values,” he said.

Grant, also an attorney, told his fellow Democrats that after spending four years as party chairman, he now planned to focus more on his law practice.

As party chairman, Grant issued challenges to Republican Gov. Paul LePage on a number of issues.

Also on Sunday other Maine Democratic Party officers were elected: Peggy Schaffer, of Vassalboro, is now vice chairman and Kurt Keef, of Hermon, is vice treasurer.


Re-elected secretary was Heidi Brooks of Lewiston and treasurer Betty Johnson of Lincolnville.

The Maine Democratic Party also has an executive director, Mary Erin Casale.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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