July 16, 2020

Clinton visit to benefit Dems’ coffers

PORTLAND — President Clinton’s July 18 fund-raising appearance is expected to generate significant benefits for the state’s Democratic candidates.

Victoria Murphy, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party, said two receptions have been scheduled at the city’s Sonesta Hotel and Holiday Inn. One will jointly benefit Tom Andrews’ U.S. Senate campaign and Joseph Brennan’s gubernatorial bid. The other is billed as the Maine ’94 Coordinated Campaign and will collect contributions to defray the state party’s operating costs and assistance to party candidates.

“We consider the event for the coordinated campaign to be as successful as the event for Andrews and Brennan,” Murphy said. “The president is coming for Tom Andrews because of his federal seat and also for Senator George Mitchell, who has also sent out invitations. “We don’t intend to lose that seat.”

Clinton, who was a seatmate of Brennan on the National Governors Conference, contacted him after his primary victory and promised a visit. Brennan also campaigned hard in Maine for Clinton when the Arkansas governor unseated one of the state’s more prominent summer residents, George Bush. Andrews, a proponent of the president’s health care plan, was designated by Mitchell as the heir to his Senate seat.

Maine Senate President Dennis “Duke” Dutremble of Biddeford and state Sen. John Baldacci of Bangor — the party’s respective 1st and 2nd U.S. Congressional District nominees — will have to settle for a share of the coordinated campaign contributions. The party’s other two top-of-the-ticket choices weren’t complaining, however, about being grouped with 174 Democratic state Senate and House races.

Dutremble said he was aware of the president’s friendship with Brennan and speculated that if not for his rapport with the former governor and Andrews, Clinton might not have come to Maine at all.

The state Democratic Committee had been aware that a Clinton visit was possible, but events leading up to the state convention and the busy June primary had pretty much devoured staff time.

“This has pre-empted a lot of stuff because, bang, we got the president,” Murphy said.

Baldacci joked that some internal restraints on out-of-state line use at his campaign headquarters prevented him from a receiving a call from Clinton the night of his primary win.

“That’ll teach me for missing his call,” he said about not being in the separate Brennan-Andrews fund-raiser. “But seriously, we’re all on the same ticket and we’re all pulling together here.”

Dutremble, one of Baldacci’s close friends in the Senate, offered to lend the Bangor restaurateur a hand if he thought he needed it.

“You tell him if the president of the United States won’t come down for him, the president of the Senate will,” pledged Dutremble.

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