A special election to fill the vacant District 14 state Senate seat has been set, and two former legislators have said they’ll seek their party’s nominations to run.

Former Rep. Craig Hickman, a Democrat, and former Sen. Earle McCormick, a Republican, have said they are interested in running. William Guerrette Jr. said Wednesday he’s also seeking the Republican nomination.

On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap announced the date of the special election has been set for March 9.

Craig Hickman, candidate

The vacancy was created when Shenna Bellows, who was re-elected to the seat in November, declined to be sworn in as she was elected to the position of secretary of state on Dec. 2.

District 14 encompasses Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Monmouth, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, West Gardiner and Winthrop in Kennebec County.

Nominations from the Democrat, Independent Green and Republican parties are due to the Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. Jan. 8. Non-party candidates will be required to submit their petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office by Jan. 8 with at least 200 signatures that have been certified by the applicable municipalities.

On Wednesday, Hickman, 53, said he announced his candidacy a week before the Kennebec County Democratic Committee is expected to caucus to nominate a candidate.

“The times compelled me to run,” he said. “I want to remain a strong voice in Augusta for the people who cry in the dark. They are the sick, the hungry and the poor, the invisible, the silenced and the scorned.”

Hickman, who completed his fourth and final term as the state representative for House District 81 — Winthrop, Readfield and North Monmouth — earlier this year, ran unsuccessfully for secretary of state.

Earle McCormick

He had not considered running for the Senate seat before because the opportunity was never there, and Hickman didn’t think he would be able to commit to run. But, he said, he’s committed and excited to run.

Hickman and his husband own and operate Annabessacook Farm, a 25-acre organic farm and bed and breakfast in Winthrop. He is also a former president of the Winthrop Area Rotary Club.

McCormick, who has served two terms in the House of Representatives and four in the Senate, said Wednesday he’ll be one of the candidates to be considered at the county GOP caucus, which will take place Sunday.

“I think the situation is so much in turmoil that having some experience would help,” McCormick said, referring to the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the state budget, hospitals and nursing homes and the state’s children. “We have to get them back to school.”

Even with federal assistance, passing a budget is expected to be quite a task, he said.

McCormick, who declined to give his age, lives in West Gardiner with his wife and is retired. He served for 23 years in the U.S. Air Force and was a teacher for 15 years.

William Guerrette Jr.

Guerrette, 61, served a single term in the House of Representatives, from 1994-96. At the time, the district he was elected to represent encompassed Pittston, Randolph, Chelsea and Hallowell.

“I believe my service in the Legislature taught me that regular people should serve,” he said. “It shouldn’t be career politicians.”

Guerrette, who lives in Pittston with his wife, is a businessman who owns property in downtown Augusta, as well as Subway and Suntan City franchises across the region.

“I care about regular people,” he said.

Benjamin Meilkejohn, secretary of the Maine Green Independent Party, said whether the party puts up a candidate has yet to be determined.

“We have no active municipal committees in the area, and we don’t know of anyone interested in running,” Meiklejohn said Wednesday.

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