AUGUSTA — The two major parties finalized their gubernatorial slates for the June primaries Thursday, narrowing what had been a field of more than 24 candidates down to 12 – seven Democrats and five Republicans.

Thursday was the deadline for candidates to turn in the signatures of 2,000 Maine voters to the Secretary of State’s Office so their name appears on the primary ballot.

Registered party members will pick their nominees during Maine’s first-ever statewide ranked-choice primaries.

Republicans making the deadline include: Ken Fredette, Garrett Mason, Mary Mayhew, Shawn Moody and Mike Thibodeau. On the Democratic side, candidates Adam Cote, Donna Dion, Mark Dion, Mark Eves, Janet Mills, Diane Russell and Betsy Sweet all turned in the required signatures, some of which were still being verified late Thursday.

The field includes an eclectic mix of politicians with a range of experience from nearly all parts of Maine.

Fredette, the Republican House Minority Leader from Newport, announced he had made the ballot late Thursday afternoon. Other Republicans, including Shawn Moody of Gorham, founder of Moody’s Collision Centers; former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew of South China; state Senate President Mike Thibodeau of Winterport and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon turned in signatures earlier this month.

Moody, a former independent who joined the Republican party int October, is the only candidate on the Republican side to have run for governor – he ran in a five-way race in 2010 won by Maine’s outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

On the Democratic side, Adam Cote, a Sanford attorney and a long-serving officer in the Maine National Guard, made the ballot, as did state Sen. Mark Dion of Portland, an attorney and former Cumberland County Sheriff. Also making the Democratic ballot is Betsy Sweet, an Augusta lobbyist and liberal activist; former Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, Maine Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington, former state Rep. Diane Russell of Portland and former Biddeford Mayor Donna Dion.

Independent candidates, who have until June 1 to turn in 4,000 signatures, include State Treasurer Terry Hayes of Buckfield and Alan Caron, founder of the nonprofit GrowSmart Maine, which focuses on sustainable development. Hayes served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives as a Democrat.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

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