Editor’s Note: During the 2018 election season, the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting is committed to providing independent, non-partisan election coverage to Maine residents. Our coverage starts with this story, looking at the candidates who hope to be Maine’s next governor and the financial details of each campaign.

We hope this information helps you start to explore the men and women looking to be Maine’s next chief executive. Look for similar stories on Maine’s congressional campaigns and its Senate race in the next few weeks on PineTreeWatch.org and our content distribution network.

Introducing the 2018 Maine gubernatorial field

AUGUSTA – With eight months to go before Maine voters elect a new governor, the race to replace incumbent Paul LePage is already crowded with a diverse field of candidates.

Twenty-four candidates have filed paperwork with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices to run for governor in 2018. Of those declared, 13 are running as Democrats, five as Republicans, one as a member of the Maine Green Independent Party and five as unenrolled independents.

The field is split between candidates who have political experience in Maine and those pursuing their first elected position.

Five candidates are running who currently hold either elected or appointed office: Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo); Maine Attorney General Janet Mills, a Democrat; Sen. Mark Dion (D-Portland); House Minority Leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette (R-Newport); Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes, an independent; and Senate Majority Leader Garrett Paul Mason (R-Lisbon).

Former elected or appointed officials running for governor include Republican Mary Mayhew, a former Health and Human Services commissioner; Democrats Mark Eves, a former state rep. and speaker of the house; Sean Faircloth, a former Bangor mayor and state senator; Donna Dion, a former Biddeford mayor; Diane Russell, a former state rep from Portland; James Boyle, a former state senator from Gorham; and Independent John Jenkins, a former state senator and mayor of Lewiston and then Auburn.

Candidates seeking their first elected statewide position include Democrats Adam Cote, Betsy Sweet, Anthony Crocitto, Steve DeAngelis, Patrick Eisenhart and Martin Vachon; Republican Shawn Moody; Independents Ethan Alcorn, Kenneth Capron and Alan Caron; and Green Party candidate Elizabeth Marsano.

While neither has held statewide office, both Cote and Moody lost high-profile races the last time they ran for public office. In 2008, Cote lost the Democratic primary to Chellie Pingree to represent Maine’s first congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Moody lost his independent bid for governor in 2010.

An effective way to assess the mid-winter status of these campaigns is to look at the money raised thus far for each.

Cote, Moody, Caron and Mills are the only four candidates to report cash balance totals over $100,000.

In reporting released last week from the last six months of 2017, Cote, a lawyer, leads the field with a cash-on-hand total of $339,856. Cote, who raised more than $500,000 last year, has a considerable cash lead over Moody ($260,117), Caron ($242,393) and Mills ($230,615).

Mayhew, from South China, has the next highest cash-on-hand total with $94,670. Other candidates with $50,000 to $100,000 in their campaign account are Democrat James Boyle ($74,355) and Republican Mike Thibodeau ($58,898).

Former Speaker of the House Eves (D-North Berwick) is next with a cash balance of $39,113. He’s followed by Mark Dion ($11,891), Sweet ($11,628), Russell ($5,071), DeAngelis ($4,801), Hayes ($3,929), Mason ($2,069) and Marsano ($1,088).

All of the other candidates reported a cash balance below $1,000.

Another factor when sorting through a field of candidates this large is whether gubernatorial hopefuls have decided to run as Clean Election Candidates. Those running as a Clean Election Candidate must collect 3,200 qualifying contributions of $5 apiece by April 20 in order to qualify for public financing.

Nine candidates are running as Clean Election candidates this year: Sweet, DeAngelis, Hayes, Mason, Marsano, Faircloth, Capron, Donna Dion and Alcorn.

Anyone running for governor with a party affiliation must submit nomination petitions to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office by March 15, the primary filing date. Primary elections for party-affiliated candidates are Tuesday, June 12. General Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6.

Here’s a closer look at the 24 candidates hoping to be Maine’s next governor:

ETHAN ALCORN

Age: 53

Hometown: Saco

Occupation: Landscape owner, property manager

Party: Independent

Why he’s running: “I am running because I now have time,  enough youth still,  variety of experience and good ideas. I think forces are polarizing us, Maine needs help, and it is time for me to try.”

Previous political experience: None

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Contributions: No report

Loans: No report

Expenditures: No report

Cash Balance: No report

Campaign filing

Campaign Facebook page

 

JAMES BOYLE

Age: 59

Hometown: Gorham

Occupation: Owner of Boyle Associates Environmental Consultants, and Avant Dance & Event Center

Jim Boyle

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: State senator, District 6, 2012-2014

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $131,886

Expenditures: $57,530

Cash Balance: $74,355

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

LinkedIn profile

 

KENNETH CAPRON

Age: 67

Kenneth CapronHometown: Portland

Occupation: Founder of nonprofit Memory Works; retired CPA

Party: Independent

Why he’s running: “I’m a contrarian. I’m tired of the status quo. When’s the last time government listened to you? If you’re like me, you’re sick and tired of the constant tax debates and the ping-pong welfare games. If you’re like me, you want real solutions that put issues to bed once and for all. I’m a systems person, known for solving complex problems so they stay fixed. Let’s work together – you and me – as a team to make the greatest use of scarce resources for our state – The Great State of Maine! I’ve got a lot of ideas to share. Let’s do this.”

Previous political experience: Ran for State House (District 116) in 2008, lost to Charlie Harlow; Ran for State House seat, District 116, in 2010, lost to Badrudin Sharif

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Contributions: No report

Expenditures: No report

Cash Balance: No report

Campaign filing

Campaign website

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LinkedIn profile

 

ALAN CARON

Age: 66

Alan CaronHometown: Freeport

Occupation: President of Envision Maine

Party: Independent

Why he’s running: “Maine is at a tipping point. We’re adrift between a past that we cannot return to and a future that we can’t yet see. While some Mainers are doing well in the new economy, many have been left behind. To bring economic opportunity to all of Maine, we must find new ways to work together, across party lines and geographic regions. The first step is to reject leaders who are motivated by partisan anger and old grudges, and support those who will ask the tough questions, treat everyone with respect and even celebrate our differences. I’m running as an independent because I believe that partisan politics is getting in our way. Both parties are stuck in old and tired ideas that are choking off innovation and energy. Neither party has a vision or a plan for moving us forward. And neither can unite us.”

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $280,195

Expenditures: $37,801

Cash Balance: $242,393

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

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LinkedIn profile

 

ADAM COTE

Age: 44

Adam CoteHometown: Sanford

Occupation: Attorney

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running:  “I am running for governor because I believe we need to make sure change starts in Maine in 2018. With new leadership grounded in Maine values like hard work, innovation, a welcoming spirit and a belief that every person is deserving of respect, I know we can turn the page from the dead-end politics of division, strengthen the state we love and leave it stronger and better for our kids and future generations.”

Previous political experience: Ran for U.S. House Seat in 2008 (1st congressional district), lost to Chellie Pingree in the primary

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $527,306

Expenditures: $187,778

Cash Balance: $339,856

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

 

ANTHONY CROCITTO

Hometown: Winterport

Occupation: Retired U.S. Postal Service; Army Ranger, Special Forces

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: No report

Expenditures: No report

Cash Balance: No report

Campaign filing

 

STEVE DEANGELIS

Age: 63

Steve DeAngelisHometown: Readfield

Occupation: Physics teacher and Nordic ski coach at Maranacook High School

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: “We have incredible potential as a state: abundant natural resources, a talented and hard-working population, and a knack for blazing our own, independent trails. We need a leader who can pull people together to work as an unstoppable team. As Maine’s next governor, I will use my abilities honed as a veteran teacher and coach, to guide Team Maine towards success.”

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $9,485

Expenditures: $4,683

Cash Balance: $4,801

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

 

DONNA JANE DION

Age: 66

Donna DionHometown: Biddeford

Occupation: Owns D.C. Consulting with her husband; former finance director for nonprofit Port Resources

Party: Democratic

Why she’s running: “For the past 15 years becoming governor for the state of Maine has been an aspiration of mine, initially seeded by the many, intensive, complex financial challenges placed before me by the state of Maine, in positions such as mayor and financial director of nonprofits, which resulted in my realization that my common sense leadership and proven professional financial business experiences would be strong assets in providing direction and collaborations in the next four years in governing the future goals of the state of Maine.”

Previous political experience: 1997-2003, mayor of Biddeford; ran for governor in 2010

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Contributions: No report

Expenditures: No report

Cash Balance: No report

Campaign filing

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

LinkedIn profile

 

MARK DION

Age: 62

Mark DionHometown: Portland

Occupation: Attorney at Dion Law LLC

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: “I have seen too many elected leaders divide our state and our nation along lines of politics, income and geography. This bickering and undue influence of corporate money at the State House has left the people of Maine stuck at the back of the line, with our economy stagnating, and our government unable to meet basic needs. We need leaders who can unite us all, so our children and grandchildren can be proud to call Maine their home. I’m running for Governor to bring integrity, civility and fairness to the Blaine House. We must provide all Maine families with a higher quality of life, with a revitalized rural economy and a public education system fully funded from pre-K to post-secondary. All Mainers must have affordable access to preventive healthcare, and we must ensure that our neighbors struggling with drugs, alcohol and mental illness have resources they need to heal. And we must preserve our natural resources for future generations. I was born in the 2nd Congressional District and made my career representing Portland and Cumberland County as Deputy Police Chief, County Sheriff, and as a Legislator. I know that every town and city in Maine is full of good, hard working people. They deserve a Governor who truly cares about their well-being and works hard for them every day.”

Previous political experience: Sheriff, Cumberland County, 1998-2010; state representative, District 113, 2010-2016; state senator, District 28, 2016-present chairman of the Committee on Energy Utilities and Technology

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $15,946

Expenditures: $4,054

Cash Balance: $11,891

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

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LinkedIn profile

 

PATRICK EISENHART

Age: 75

Patrick EisenhartHometown: Augusta

Occupation: Retired U.S. Coast Guard officer; retired disaster preparedness planner

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: “I am running to expose and remove Koch brothers money from state politics.”

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Contributions: $1,950

Expenditures: $1,351

Cash balance: $598

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

 

MARK EVES

Age: 40

Mark EvesHometown: North Berwick

Occupation: Psychologist, counselor and therapist

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: “The stresses Maine families are under everyday — whether its money, or jobs, or all the craziness going on in DC — it’s just too much. What we do about it in Kittery may be different from Minot or Madawaska, and all the backroads and Main Streets in between, but everyone has a stake in this. And if we honor what people are going through, really take the time to understand it, and stick with it, there’s so much we can do to lift the pressure that families are living under today. That’s how we build a better Maine – one family at a time. That’s why I’m running for governor.”

Previous political experience: State representative, District 6, 2008-2016; Speaker of the House, 2012-2016

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $160,319

Expenditures: $121,205

Cash Balance: $39,113

Campaign finance report

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LinkedIn profile

 

SEAN FAIRCLOTH

Age: 57

Sean FairclothHometown: Bangor

Occupation: Author, attorney, founder of Maine Discovery Museum

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running“We need big money out of politics, so I’m running clean elections. The progressive values of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and George Mitchell are the values I’ve worked for successfully during my entire life. I want average Mainers to see increases in wages and human rights for all. As a State Senator and Mayor and a leader of downtown revitalization in my City of Bangor, I have proven progressive results as is documented at www.seanfaircloth.com.”

Previous political experience: Bangor city councilor, Maine House 2002-2008; Maine Senate  District 9, 1994-1996, Judiciary and Appropriations Committee

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $640

Expenditures: $0

Cash Balance: $640

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

 

KENNETH FREDETTE

Age: 53

Ken FredetteHometown: Newport

Occupation: Judge Advocate General for Air National Guard, tribal prosecutor for Penobscot Indian Nation

Party: Republican

Why he’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: State representative, District 100, 2010-present

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $14,435

Expenditures: $2,071

Cash Balance: $12,363

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

LinkedIn profile

 

TERRY HAYES

Age: 59

Terry HayesHometown: Buckfield

Job: Treasurer for Maine State Legislature

Party: Independent

Why she’s running: “My vision for Maine’s future is one where people are welcomed and connected, skilled and productive, healthy and well. It’s a vision that unites us around shared values and a blueprint to grow Maine’s economy and improve the quality of life for all the Maine people. I’m running for Governor because how we do things matters. Partisanship is stalling progress and holding us back. It’s time to put our people above party allegiances and focus on getting the Maine we want to have 10, 15, 20 years from now. We can build that future together, if we refuse to let partisanship and party loyalty get in our way. I have earned the respect and trust of Republicans and Democrats alike to twice be elected as Maine’s first independent State Treasurer. When I am elected as Maine’s next Governor, I will bring Republicans and Democrats together to make state government work for the people that pay the bills – Mainers.”

Previous political experience: Maine House of Representatives, District 94, 2006-2014

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $41,774

Expenditures: $37,845

Cash Balance: $3,929

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

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JOHN JENKINS

Age: 65

John JenkinsHometown: Auburn

Occupation: Teacher at Lincoln Academy, motivational speaker, martial arts expert

Party: Independent

Why he’s running: “Experienced leadership matters. My ongoing community work has been towards effective solutions that affect our state: hunger, homelessness, healthcare access, opiate addiction, persistent poverty and work readiness.”

Previous political experience: Maine Senate, District 21, 1996-1998, former mayor of Lewiston and Auburn

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $50

Expenditures: $0

Cash Balance: $50

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

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LinkedIn profile

 

ELIZABETH MARSANO

Age: 67

Elizabeth MarsanoHometown: Waldo

Occupation: Retired, worked at Family Crisis Center

Party: Green

Why she’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: Ran for state House in Portland in 1996

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $1,145

Expenditures: $56

Cash balance: $1,088

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

 

GARRETT MASON

Age: 32

Garrett MasonHometown: Lisbon Falls

Occupation: State senator; works in family excavation business

Party: Republican

Why he’s running: “I am running for governor to put Maine and Maine families first. Over the past eight years, our state has made great strides toward meaningful welfare reform, lowering taxes, and more parental choice in how their children are educated. However, we have only just begun. During my time in the Senate and as the Senate Majority Leader, we were able to pass welfare reform that bears down on waste, fraud and abuse in our system. We lowered income taxes not only for the rich, not only for the poor, but for all Maine families. We implemented charter schools in Maine to provide educational options to ensure that we provide all Maine children with a quality education. Our state needs leadership that continues to put Maine first. Leaders who see our challenges with clear eyes and focus on polices that lead to better outcomes for you and your family. As your governor, I will ensure that Maine, Maine businesses and Maine families are always first.”

Previous political experience: State Senate, District 22, 2010-present, Senate Republican Leader

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $31,830

Expenditures: $29,761

Cash Balance: $2,069

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

LinkedIn profile

 

MARY MAYHEW

Age: 53

Mary MayhewHometown: South China

Occupation: Former commissioner, Department of Health and Human Services, 2011-2017

Party: Republican

Why she’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: None

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $197,838

Expenditures: $103,167

Cash Balance: $94,670

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

Campaign Twitter account

 

JANET MILLS

Age: 69

Janet MillsHometown: Farmington

Occupation: Maine Attorney General since 2012

Party: Democratic

Why she’s running: “I’ve spent my life fighting to protect Maine families, defend working people, and preserve our beautiful natural resources. As governor, I will do everything in my power to make Maine the safe, beautiful, prosperous state we all want for our children and grandchildren.”

Previous political experience: District Attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford Counties, 1980-92; state representative, 2002-2008; Attorney General from 2008-2011 and again from 2012-present

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $352,575

Expenditures: $121,959

Cash Balance: $230,615

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

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LinkedIn profile

 

SHAWN MOODY

Age: 57

Shawn MoodyHometown: Gorham

Occupation: Owner of Moody’s Collision Center

Party: Republican

Why he’s running: “I am running for governor because many Mainers are tired of just getting by, now it’s time for them to get ahead. Over the past eight years, Governor LePage has paid off our massive hospital debt, increased the cash in our rainy-day fund, and reduced our unemployment rate. Now is not the time to turn Augusta over to professional politicians or special interest insiders. We must continue to institute common sense conservative reforms to continue growing Maine’s economy.”

Previous political experience: Ran as Independent for governor in 2010

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $286,005

Expenditures: $25,887

Cash Balance: $260,117

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

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LinkedIn profile

 

DIANE RUSSELL

Age: 41

Diane RussellHometown: Portland

Occupation: Former state representative

Party: Democratic

Why she’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: Maine House of Representative, District 125, 2008-2016

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $49,979

Expenditures: $44,907

Cash Balance: $5,071

Campaign Finance Report

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

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LinkedIn profile

 

BETSY SWEET

Age: 60

Betsy SweetHometown: Hallowell

Occupation: Runs Moose Ridge Associates Law Firm

Party: Democratic

Why she’s running: “I am running for governor because I believe we are at a crossroads. Our system is broken, giving us the opportunity for significant change so that government actually supports and assists Maine people in the issues we face every day – good-paying jobs, healthcare, affordable and clean energy, fair taxation – and finding solutions by reaching out to people who are closest to the problem. The No. 1 obstacle to doing this now is money in politics, which means that big donors and special interests control the agenda and solutions. I am running as a Clean Elections Candidate so that we have the opportunity to elect someone whose only allegiance is to the people of Maine. This will repair our system and put democracy back into the hands of the people where it belongs.”

Financing: Maine Clean Elections (pending)

Seed contributions: $88,131

Expenditures: $76,503

Cash Balance: $11,628

Campaign finance report:

Campaign website

Campaign Facebook page

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MICHAEL THIBODEAU

Age: 51

Mike ThibodeauHometown: Winterport

Occupation: Co-owner of Mt. Waldo Plastics and co-owner TB Equipment

Party: Republican

Why he’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: Current Maine Senate President, Maine Senate 2010-present, 23rd District

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: $90,863

Expenditures: $31,965

Cash Balance: $58,898

Campaign finance report

Campaign website

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MARTIN VACHON

Hometown: Mariaville

Occupation: Former self-employed electrical contractor

Party: Democratic

Why he’s running: Candidate did not respond to this request.

Previous political experience: Ran in Republican primary in 2010

Financing: Traditional

Contributions: No report

Expenditures: No report

Cash Balance: No report

Campaign filing

Campaign website