MAINE, USA — Maine's race for a seat in the U.S. Senate is heating up with the primary in the rear view mirror. Much attention has been placed on front runners and major party candidates, but there will actually be four, and possibly five candidates on the ballot come November.
In addition to incumbent Senator Susan Collins and Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, three independents are challenging to be Maine's next senator.
Independents Max Linn and Lisa Savage have already qualified to be on the ballot. One other candidate, Tiffany Bond, is currently in litigation, hoping to have her signatures confirmed to have her placed on the ballot too.
"We don't have to be two parties. We can be the most reasonable person. The best set of policy. I think that's something most Mainer's are receptive to," said Tiffany Bond.
Much attention in the race has been place on front runners and fundraising leaders Gideon and Collins, but the independent candidates say they're ready to get their message to voters.
"Our job now is to get the word out to those persuadable voters who may already have a number one choice, but it's a ranked choice voting election," said Lisa Savage.
Savage says that because of ranked-choice voting, it gives more of a chance for independent candidates as well.
"You can vote your values rather than voting your fears. Because there's no spoiler effect, you don't have to worry about the fact that, 'oh, if I vote for Lisa that might mean that Susan Collins is going to get elected.' That doesn't really operate in a ranked choice voting election," said Savage. "You can vote the candidate that most closely aligns with your value as your number one choice, and then you can make a safe choice for your number two."
Candidate Max Linn told NEWS CENTER Maine in a statement "I plan on doing the best campaign I can in order to achieve a 51% victory on the first ballot making ranked choice voting irrelevant in November's election."
"I am confident that when the voters here in Maine hear my message that I will become their candidate and they will vote for me. I believe that my campaign poll numbers along with my message will be more than enough to secure my place in the debates, debates I will certainly will win. I look forward to becoming the next U.S. Senator from Maine," said Linn.
Being a part of the debates is something all of these candidates hope for.
"Being able to hear the candidates speak and to explain their position in debates is a very important part of voter education," said Savage.
"There's such a rich range to choose from there, it's a real disservice to voters to have not be able to see that," said Bond.
Savage, Bond, and Linn collectively released a statement last week, demanding inclusion in all debates.