Saturday, May 7, 2016

Maine Democrats Energized by 2016 State Convention

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Democratic Party tonight closed out its 2016 state convention at Portland's Cross Insurance Arena, a two-day affair attended by about 4,500 Democrats, including 3,224 state delegates who were elected at local caucuses on March 5.

“Our convention’s theme, ‘Together, we are Maine,’ is an affirmation of our shared values both as a party and as a state,” said Chairman Bartlett. “Thousands of Democrats came together from every corner of the state to celebrate who we are and what we stand for. We, as Democrats, refuse to accept the divisive breed of politics that define people like Paul LePage and Donald Trump. I extend my sincerest thanks to all our delegates, alternates and guests who attended, as well as to Senate Leader Justin Alfond, who served as our convention’s chair. Together, we are Maine Democrats, and together, we are Maine.”

In Saturday’s proceedings, delegates voted to adopt an amendment proposed by Maine state Rep. Diane Russell that would re-structure the party’s rules surrounding superdelegates. Beginning in 2020, superdelegates will be required to report their presidential candidate preference at the opening of the state convention so that the party chair can reallocate national delegates to proportionately reflect the results of the state’s caucuses.

In county caucuses held Saturday afternoon, state delegates elected Maine’s 25 pledged delegates, 17 of which were allocated for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and 8 of which will go to Secretary Hillary Clinton. Those 25 individuals and the state’s five superdelegates will represent Maine at the Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Philadelphia in July.

The national delegates elected for Sen. Sanders were: Diane Denk, Vanessa Sylvester, Liz Smith, Todd Ricker, Seth Berner, Justin Beth, Cokie Giles, Cynthia Soma-Hernandez, Jesse Lambert, David Bright, Ursa Beckford, Severin Beliveau, David Weeda, Denise Groves, former state Rep. Harlan Baker, state Rep. Diane Russell and state Rep. Deane Rykerson.

The national delegates elected for Secretary Clinton were: Cynthia Dill, Nancy Wanderer, Margaret Hannah, Trevor Doiron, Dale McCormick, Ralph Carmona, state Rep. Chris Babbidge and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

Additionally, the convention’s delegates elected Troy Jackson and Diane Denk to serve on the Democratic National Committee. Denk was also elected to serve as a presidential elector, as were Betty Johnson, Sam Shapiro and David Bright.

The convention’s delegates also elected 100 people to its state committee.

Other highlights of the convention included Chairman Bartlett’s “State of the Party” address, as well as remarks from former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, who spoke on behalf of Secretary Clinton’s campaign. DNC Committeeman Troy Jackson and Jonathan Fishman of the band Phish spoke on behalf of Sen. Sanders.

Other speakers included U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, 2nd District Congressional candidate Emily Cain, Senate Leader Alfond and Maine House Speaker Mark Eves.