MAINE — One week ahead of Maine’s Democratic primary, the Working Families Party announced its endorsement of three gubernatorial candidates: Betsy Sweet, Diane Russell and Mark Eves. The unusual triple-endorsement was made in light of Maine’s new “ranked choice” voting system, which allows voters to rank nominees by order of preference.
The national political organization also launched a voter education campaign urging progressive Mainers to maximize their clout by ranking Eves, Russell, and Sweet as their top three candidates. The campaign features written and video explainers on how strategic voting can ensure a progressive nominee, which the WFP will promote to tens of thousands of Maine voters through digital ads, emails and text messages.
“We’re excited to talk to progressive Mainers about the opportunities provided by the new ranked choice voting system,” said Georgia Hollister-Isman, the WFP’s New England political director. “We have three great progressives in this race, any of whom would be a fantastic governor. By picking their favorite but also paying close attention to their second and third choices, progressives can be sure their votes will pack the biggest punch.”
The Working Families Party endorsement is a “seal of approval” for progressive voters. The WFP has already endorsed a number of progressive gubernatorial candidates around the country, including Ben Jealous in Maryland, Chris Giunchigliani in Nevada, and Cynthia Nixon in New York. It recently helped Stacey Abrams score a larger-than-expected victory in Georgia’s gubernatorial primary by contacting 200,000 voters through phone-banking, door-knocking, email and text messaging.
Betsy Sweet is a long-time advocate of state legislation protecting women and the LGBTQ community. Mark Eves is a family therapist who championed healthcare and affordable housing during his term as Speaker of the Maine House. Diane Russell is a former state representative and veteran organizer.
The Working Families Party is a national political organization that recruits, trains, and elects the next generation of progressive leaders to office. The WFP plans to work in more than 1,000 races this year, large and small, in an effort to elect more progressive leaders and end Republican control of Congress and in state houses.
WFP candidates have already won early 2018 primaries against machine Democrats in Chicago, defeated a big-spending political establishment in Milwaukee, and won congressional primaries in West Virginia, Indiana, and Nebraska.
The party was active in many of the most notable progressive victories of the year, including Larry Krasner (Philadelphia District Attorney), Chokwe Lumumba (Mayor of Jackson, MS), Randall Woodfin (Mayor of Birmingham AL), LaToya Cantrell (Mayor-elect of New Orleans, LA), Christine Pellegrino (State Assembly in New York), Crystal Murillo (City Councilor in Aurora, CO) and many others.