AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine's U.S. Senate primary will be held on July 14, and as the election quickly approaches, candidate forums are ramping up.
The Maine Democratic Party (Maine Dems) announced Tuesday it would be hosting a candidate forum with the three Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate who are looking to unseat Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
Candidates Maine state House Speaker Sara Gideon of Freeport, progressive activist Betsy Sweet of Hallowell, and defense attorney Bre Kidman of Saco will participate in the forum set for Monday, June 22 at 6 p.m. The forum will be moderated by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Adam Cote.
The candidates have only appeared together on stage once before at a forum hosted by the Maine Teen Advocacy Coalition in November. NEWS CENTER Maine hosted a Voice of the Voter forum last week with the Democratic candidates, and Gideon declined to participate.
RELATED: Voice of the Voter Forums
Kidman told NEWS CENTER Maine they are glad Gideon is "finally joining us for a forum but it’s a shame that it took so much public pressure to get her to do so."
Kidman also said they are looking forward to the forum and is, "excited to talk about why it’s so important to have candidates who will commit in specific terms to economic justice and holistic solutions over profit when it comes to issues like healthcare and the climate crisis."
Will Simons, Sara Gideon for Maine press secretary, said Gideon, "looks forward to joining [Monday's] forum and discussing her plans to make health care more accessible and affordable, crack down on big drug companies, address climate change, and end the influence of money in politics."
The Maine Dems say they're still finalizing topics and questions for the forum but plan to cover a wide range of subjects important to Maine voters this year.
"We're excited to have all three of our Democratic US Senate candidates participating and hope that this forum will give voters the opportunity to learn about each of them ahead of next month's primary," Seth Nelson, the Maine Dems communications director said.
"Every path to retaking the United States Senate runs through Maine, and one of these outstanding candidates is going to defeat Susan Collins this November,” Maine Dems said, "...we look forward to hearing from all of our candidates about their vision for Maine’s future.”
Sweet issued the following statement to NEWS CENTER Maine:
Mainers deserve to see each candidate side by side as we talk about our visions for a better tomorrow, so I'm thrilled to be on stage with both Sara and Bree. There are important differences in policy that we look forward to discussing - Support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, Demilitarizing the police and how we move forward toward racial justice, just to name a few.We have a second once in a lifetime recession and I know first hand how hard it can be to make ends meet. It's time we had a Senator in this state that puts Mainers first and I look forward to talking about bringing high-paying green jobs to this state for decades to come.
The forum will be live-streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
RELATED: Poll workers needed for July primary