With the deadline approaching for submitting names to appear on the special election ballot for Kennebec County probate judge, two of the county’s four eligible political parties have identified their nominees.

At its caucus on Monday, the Kennebec County Democratic Committee nominated Libby Mitchell as its candidate. Libby Mitchell is the widow of James E. Mitchell, who served as judge of probate in Kennebec County for 37 years and died Sept. 9 of multiple organ failure.

Libby Mitchell, a former Maine Senate president, House speaker and gubernatorial candidate and an attorney, was one of two Democrats to seek the county party’s nomination. Joseph O’Donnell, an attorney from Monmouth, also had submitted his name and qualifications.

On Monday, Chris Lyons, chairman of the Libertarian Party of Maine, announced that C.H. “Skip” Spurling is the nominee chosen at a meeting of the Kennebec County Libertarian committee. Lyons said in an email Tuesday that under state law there was no need to have a caucus for that office.

Spurling, whose office is in Gardiner, is a former Los Angeles County assistant district attorney and has been in practice in Maine for more than 20 years. He has experience with domestic relations litigation, parental rights and responsibilities, child and spousal support, among other things, in addition to civil, tort and criminal law.

“I think it’s time for the local electorate to have a choice, just like the national electorate,” said Spurling, who has not run for political office before and considers himself to be philosophically independent.


“This is the type of position that should be apolitical; it’s a judgeship,” he said.

On Tuesday, Gil Harris, of the Maine Green Independent Party, said he’d received no response to his query about the post and the party will not put forward a candidate.

The Kennebec County Republican Committee is expected to caucus Wednesday to identify its nominee.

Nominations are due to the secretary of state’s office by 5 p.m. Friday.

Under the process outlined in state law, once the secretary of state declares a vacancy, the eligible parties are given a time frame in which to meet and return a nomination.

The special election in this race will be held on Nov. 8, in concurrence with the general election.


Each of Maine’s 16 counties has a judge of probate, a part-time, partisan post that is filled every four years by popular election.

Probate courts handle disputed estates of deceased people, adoptions, guardianships and conservatorships of disabled adults, and custody of children whose parents can’t care for them in cases that do not go through the district court child protective system.

James Mitchell was in the middle of his term, which would have run through Dec. 31, 2018.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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