This year's races for Maine State House and Senate seats are beginning to take official shape, as political parties replace "placeholder" candidates with contenders they hope will actually campaign.
As we reported in Briefs back in April, one such placeholder was Jason Rogers, a local indie rocker who held the Green Independent Party's spot on the ballot for the House District 119 (Bayside and Parkside) race. Incumbent Democratic Rep. Herb Adams is running again for that seat, and the Republicans' horse is Jason LaVoie, a conservative University of Southern Maine student activist.
Rogers has been replaced by another guitar-slinging Green, Matt Reading. Reading, 24, said he was inspired to run by Rep. John Eder, the West End Green whom he worked for at the State House a few years ago. He's also been inspired by Warren Haynes, the former Allman Brothers ax-man now shredding Southern rock in Gov't Mule.
Reading is not currently in a band. Rogers' band, Diamond Sharp, plays this Friday at Space Gallery.
In another semi-interesting twist, Karl Rawstron, the Greens' placeholder in the District 8 State Senate race against incumbent Ethan Strimling, has been replaced by Kelsey Perchinski, office manager and DJ at WMPG. The Republican candidate is David Babin, who ran and lost (badly) against Strimling two years ago.
Babin's campaign manager in that race: Kelsey Perchinski.
"He's completely fine with it," Perchinski said of Babin, who confirmed that he supports Perchinski's candidacy. "I certainly plan to help Kelsey in any way I can (she has all the dirt on me)," Babin wrote in an e-mail to The Bollard.
Rawstron, meanwhile, now has more free time to get ready for the rumored reunion of Sex Sells, the short-lived Portland indie-pop trio he fronted with bassist Meghan Conley (now Meghan Busby, this reporter's wife).
In non-rockin' political news, the Elephant Party has been unable to find a candidate to run in the House District 118 (West End) race against Eder and Democratic contender Jon Hinck. Perhaps that's just as well, as the last time Republicans had a candidate in this liberal district, she neglected to campaign and ended up endorsing Eder.
That's not likely to happen this year on the East End, where the Republicans have replaced Douglas Calderbank with Jeffrey Ferland.
"Since 1997 we've ranked as the state with the highest tax burden, and since that time, our neighbor New Hampshire hasn't ranked worse than 48th," Ferland wrote in a July 22 e-mail declaring his candidacy. "I'm finding it hard to believe that 49 other states can handle their budgets better than us, and still have the same kinds of services."
Ferland is an information technology consultant and auditor at a local accounting firm (he declined to disclose his employer's name). He's also 21 years old. His opponents in the House District 120 race are Portland School Committee member and Green "Zen" Ben Meiklejohn, and Anne Rand, a veteran Democratic state legislator seeking to return to Augusta.