Democrat Steve Woods jumps into race for state Senate seat being vacated by Woodbury

Steve Woods Troy R. Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Steve Woods
Photo by Troy R. Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Steve Woods, the Yarmouth-based businessman who in the past two years has launched unsuccessful bids to be governor and U.S. Senator, announced Tuesday that he now has set his sights on the state Senate and will run as a Democrat for the seat currently held by the Senate’s only independent.

Woods said in a press release that he has jumped into the race for the Senate District 25 seat currently occupied by independent Sen. Richard Woodbury of Yarmouth. Woodbury said Tuesday he is not seeking reelection.

Sen. Richard Woodbury Troy R. Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Sen. Richard Woodbury
Photo by Troy R. Bennett/Bangor Daily News

Woods offered high praise for Woodbury, who he said “exemplified the ideals of honor, honesty and integrity in his approach to holding elected office and representing his constituents — standards I promise to uphold if I am elected.”

“To fulfill Maine’s promise of opportunity for future generations, our lawmakers and policymakers in Augusta must move beyond historic differences, current partisanship conflict, and instead move towards a future that addresses the common interests and shared hope of all Mainers,” said Woods.

I have interviewed Woods more than once and he’s the type of candidate who can fill hours with his policy ideas. Also crystal clear in those interviews was Woods’ determination to gain a higher elected office. Woods, the current chairman of the Yarmouth Town Council and former chairman of that town’s Planning Board, placed fourth in a six-way race for the U.S. Senate seat in 2012, which had been vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe. Woods left the race early and endorsed independent Angus King, who ended up winning the election.

Last year, Woods announced in February that he had registered as a Democrat for the 2014 governor’s race, but then in August pulled out of the race and voiced his support for Democrat Mike Michaud. 

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, endorsed Woods, according to the press release.

“Steve is a successful businessman who has created jobs in Cumberland County,” said Alfond. “His experience and skill would be a welcome addition to the Maine Senate.”

Woods’ stated goal of ending gridlock in the Legislature should be familiar to the district’s voters after more than three years Senate representation by Woodbury, an economist who led the bipartisan “Gang of 11” last year, which tried and failed to push through a major tax reform proposal.

No one, including Woods, has yet filed paperwork to become a candidate, according to online listings maintained by the Maine Ethics Commission.

NOTE: The boundaries of Senate District 11 will change this year because of legislative redistricting. After the November election, the district will cover Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Westbrook and Yarmouth. The redistricting process swapped Westbrook for North Yarmouth in the Senate district.

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.