WINDSOR — In this highly charged political season, every little indicator is scrutinized, assessed and exploited for possible gain in the life-and-death battle for public office.

What, then, can prognosticators make of this?

State Sen. Chris Johnson, D-Somerville, Senate District 13, 22 ounces.

Richard Bradstreet, Republican candidate for House District 80, 15 ounces.

Emily Cain, Democratic candidate for Maine’s second Congressional district seat, 14 ounces.

James Torbert, Democratic candidate for House District 88, 13 ounces.


The undisputed conclusion is if you need a candidate to milk a docile cow, these are the ones to back.

In the intense glare of the late afternoon sun Sunday at the Windsor Fair, 11 candidates for federal, state and county office took turns at the business end of three very tolerant cows, a Holstein, a Jersey and a Milking Shorthorn, to see how well each of them could coax forth milk into relatively small buckets in three minutes as more than 100 fairgoers watched.

Augusta City Manager William Bridgeo was the event’s genial emcee, returning for a ninth time to oversee the biennial barnyard battle. Success at milking and success at the polls is a hard correlation to draw, he said.

“Oftentimes you will see a conservative milk in a very liberal fashion and a liberal candidate shy away from their opportunities,” Bridgeo said. “But they’re all darn good sports.”

Johnson, who has taken part in the Political Pull twice before, said he thinks there might be something to the chemistry between the cow and the milker.

But the bigger reason to attend, he said, is that Windsor is in his Senate District and he likes doing things in his district.


“(This event) might be embarrassing for us,” he said, after posing for a photo with his ribbon, “but the fair is about celebrating farms and local food, and it’s great to be a part of the festivities.

In some races, both contestants faced off, although not necessarily in the same heat.

Torbert is challenging Rep. Deborah Sanderson, R-Chelsea, who was able to get 4 ounces.

Johnson is being challenged by Dana Dow, a former Republican state representative, who brought forth 6 ounces.

Bradstreet is challenging Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro, who milked 5 ounces.

In others, only one candidate took a turn at the cow.


Republican Mark Holbrook, who in the 1st District is challenging Democrat U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a former Political Pull winner herself, was able to get 3 ounces.

Joseph Pietrowski, an independent candidate for Senate District 14 managed 1 ounce.

Ken Mason, independent candidate for Kennebec County Sheriff, tied with Sanderson at 4 ounces.

And Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, who is seeking re-election in Senate District 15, managed 1.25 ounces.

Some had trouble aiming for the bucket, others saved the fruits of their and the cow’s labor by snatching the pail away from an errant hoof.

But perhaps the most important takeaway for pundits, fans and bystanders alike is if you want to make sure you have enough milk, find an expert. To fill out the final heat, Windsor Fair President Tom Foster filled his bucket with a decisive 40 ounces.


The cows declined comment.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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