During a brief nominating caucus at Medomak Valley High School in Waldoboro on Sunday, March 26, Democrats from the towns that make up House District 45 elected Wendy Pieh, D-Bremen, as the party’s nominee for the upcoming June 13 special election.
House District 45 consists of Waldoboro, Louds Island and Bremen in Lincoln County and Friendship and Washington in Knox County. Republicans from those towns will gather at Coastal Christian School at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 to select their party’s nominee.
Pieh is the chair of Bremen Select Board and has served in the House of Representatives for a total of eight years, serving two terms from 1996 to 2000 and another two terms from 2006 to 2010.
Approximately 40 registered Democrats assembled in the MVHS gym Sunday afternoon. Knox County Democratic Committee Chair Zachery Annis was elected caucus chair and Lincoln County Democratic Committee Chair Kelli Whitlock Burton was elected caucus secretary.
Pieh was nominated by her husband, Peter Goth, and was the only candidate to be nominated. Attendees broke into applause after voting Pieh to be the nominee.
During the caucus, Pieh said her leadership style is based on gathering information from individuals of different backgrounds and viewpoints to learn about the issues facing community members in the district.
“I think it is in our differences where we can find the common ground and really make a positive difference for our constituents and our municipalities,” Pieh said.
With the special election just under three months away, Pieh encouraged attendees to canvass the district and get their neighbors to the polls.
“We have 12 weeks to do a six-month campaign,” Pieh said. “I need all the help I can get.”
Sean Smith, campaign director for the Maine House Democratic Campaign Committee, encouraged attendees of the caucus to motivate Democrats in the district to vote in what he expects to be a tough race.
“This district we felt was a toss-up district in November and we expect it to be a toss-up district again,” Smith said.
Smith said the biggest challenge for the special election was getting voters to turnout with just one election taking place. He encouraged attendees to knock on doors and get people to the polls.
If elected, Pieh would like to see what committee she is a part of before prioritizing specific issues she would like to address as a legislator.
Gov. Janet Mills announced the special election on Wednesday, March 15 after the resignation of former House District 45 Rep. Clint Collamore, D-Waldoboro.
Collamore, who defeated Lynn Madison, R-Waldoboro, for the seat last November, announced he was resigning from the Legislature in February after pleading not guilty to charges related to signature forgery of the state’s publicly funded election program on Feb. 16.
He was indicted on the 33 charges – 20 felony charges of aggravated forgery, 11 misdemeanor charges of unsworn falsification, and one count of criminal violation of the Maine Clean Election Act – on Dec. 15, alleging that he forged signatures on forms needed to qualify for taxpayer-funded campaign money through the Maine Clean Election Act.
The act provides funds to candidates who collect $5 minimum contributions and signatures from at least 60 registered voters in their district.
Collamore said that, although he pleaded not guilty, he resigned because the loss of his only committee seat made him ineffective for voters. House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, removed him from the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee on Feb. 1.
For more information about Pieh’s campaign, residents can call 529-5747 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Social media pages for Pieh’s candidacy are expected to be up and running soon, according to Pieh.