Portland State Senator Ethan King Strimling has begun his campaign to run for the United States Congress. Strimling's campaign group met for the first time on November 8th, just eight days after Strimling won re-election to his third term in the Maine State Senate.
..."It's up and running," said Sive Neilan, Chair of the Portland Democratic City Committee, who praised Strimling's organization. "He's going to be the one to beat."
The District I seat in Congress is currently held by Congressman Tom Allen, who is expected to run for the US Senate in 2008 against Senator Susan Collins, but who has made no official announcement.
I don't know who the WEN people know, so this line has a bit of the "some say" vibe to it. (As in, "some say the terrorists have been rooting for a Democratic victory this year." Oh yeah? Who exactly said that? "Oh, you know. Some.") But it also seems concievable, especially to those of us who are already reading and writing posts like this one.
I think Allen would be smart to go after Collins, though he's a bit more in the DLC mold than I would like. Ok, a lot more. I'm reasonably sure that he was a Steny Hoyer supporter, for example. (That's but a small shred of evidence, however, as I can think of lots of reasons for favoring Hoyer over Murtha--tactical as well as prinicpled.) And folks have remarked on seening Allen in the second district a bit more, lately. Although I heard alot of that talk a couple of years ago, when some people thought he would challenge Snowe. If he eschewed that run to aim at Collins instead, that seems shrewd.
But this does raise the comprehensive victory/control issue. If Allen does pursue Collins, a new Democratic candidate needs to take his place in the House. I think Strimling would be an excellent choice. According to the WEN:
Strimling is the Director of Portland West, and Board President of A Rising Tide, a training program for young people (under 35) interested in politics. Newly-elected West End School Committee member Robert O'Brien is a graduate of the program.I've been more than happy to cast my ballot for Strimling twice in the past. As his record indicates, he's a man intimately connected with the community in which he serves. Portland West also has the distinction in Maine of working closely with a minority immigrant population and its offices have been a focal point of community building on Brackett Street for some time. Newly elected city councilman David Marshall sprang from that incubator of community building himself. Strimling has also proven himself an able legislator, pushing though legislation that benefits alternative energy, enhances protection for victims of domestic violence, aids immigrants--straight progress policy. He's even delved into international affairs, drafting legislation that would require the State of Maine to divest from Sudan.
So, even if Allen doesn't jump after Collins (which he should), Strimling will give him a run for his money. According to WEN, former State Senator Michael Brennan and for State House Speaker John Richardson are also expected to challenge Allen. At least, "that's what some say."
Cross-posted at TurnMaineBlue.com