PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) There is a yet another Democratic candidate in the Governor’s race, and one prominent party member says that has made the primary race "wide open."
"State Senator and former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion announced Thursday he is running for the Blaine House.
It was already a crowded Democratic primary. Dion’s entry expands the field of candidates to nine. NEWS CENTER Democratic political analyst and former Speaker of the House John Richardson said the primary race has no front-runner at this point, in part because of Dion's decision to run.
"Now there's someone in the race who...they didn’t think would be in the race and now they're in and have a chance to look and see if that’s the candidate they want to support," Richardson said.
He called Dion "a credible candidate."
Dion said his years in law enforcement laid the foundation for his run for office. He said he learned about issues like mental health and substance abuse in his years running the county jail. He told supporters and news people he wants to deal with those issues as Governor, but also said he wants to bring his management experience and teamwork approach to the job.
"I think I’ve developed a reputation for being even-handed, for actually looking for the evidence before I make a decision and bringing people together," Dion said.
John Richardson said he doesn't expect more. Democrats to enter the race at this point, saying it was "late" in the political calendar to begin a new campaign. However, he and others acknowledge there continues to be speculation about state Sen. Troy Jackson deciding to run.
They also said Sen. Susan Collins' decision about running for Governor could also have an impact on the Democratic primary field.