List of legislative candidates for 2012 growing quickly

As expected, the number of candidates vying for Maine House and Senate seats in 2012 has grown considerably in the last several weeks.

In a blog post about a month ago, I mentioned about 20 candidates that had declared for the 2012 elections. Now, the list includes more than 80 names as of Friday, Jan. 13, according to the Maine Ethics Commission.

I’m not going to list them all here, but there are some notable names.

Many current House and Senate members have declared their intent to run for reelection including: Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, the current Speaker of the House; Rep. Teresa Hayes, D-Buckfield, the assistant minority leader in the House; Rep. Alexander Willette, R-Mapleton, the youngest House member; Rep. Henry Beck, D-Waterville, the youngest Democratic member of the House.

Others seeking reelection include: Sen. Richard Woodbury, U-Yarmouth, the only independent senator; Sen. Ronald Collins, R-Wells; Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash; Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley; Rep. Kenneth Fredette, R-Newport; Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough; Rep. Diane Russell, D-Portland; Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, Rep. Sara Stevens, D-Bangor; and Rep. Eleanor Espling, R-New Gloucester.

Some intriguing names among challengers include:

Geoffrey Gratwick, a Democrat and current Bangor city councilor who is challenging Sen. Nichi Farnham in the District 32 race.

Nancy Sullivan, a Biddeford Democrat who is termed out in the Senate, has decided to run for House District 137.

Brian Duprey of Hampden initially had declared his intent to run for the Senate but dropped out shortly after Rep. Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, jumped in. Duprey now plans to run for Cushing’s House seat.

Rep. Gary Plummer, R-Windham, is serving his final term in the House but will run for the Senate seat held by Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, who also is term-limited.

Finally, Rep. John Tuttle, D-Sanford, plans to run for the Senate District 3 seat held by Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney, R-Sanford, who cannot run for reelection because he’s served four terms. Tuttle is in his fourth consecutive term in the House and has been a member of 13 legislatures.

So, that’s a lot of names to digest, but I’ll do my best to keep updating this as the weeks roll on.