Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Gov. Baldacci faces in-party challenge

Published in the Portland Phoenix

Chris Miller, a progressive Maine Democrat who has tried to push the party to the left, has filed papers to unseat Governor John Baldacci, and said he will announce his candicacy later this week or early next. Miller was elected vice-president of the Maine Progressive Caucus in 2004, helping lead an organization that described itself as trying to work within the Democratic Party to return it "to its populist roots." (The group's Web site is no longer in existence.)

Miller told a caucus meeting in 2005 that "the Democratic leadership [in Maine] really is clinging to the large corporations."

As an activist, last year he tried unsuccessfully to strip from corporations their abilities to support candidates in elections, to fund petition drives, and to refuse to testify against themselves – rights people have that were also granted to companies in an 1886 Supreme Court ruling. He also backed legislation to require companies to act in the public's best interests, which also failed. (See"Campaign 2008" by Lance Tapley, May 13, 2005; and "Legislative Matters" by Sara Donnelly, June 3, 2005.) PeopleFirst!Maine – a group dedicated to those ends – is headquartered at Miller's home.

The Web site for the business he runs, a Gray-based Internet-service provider called Maine Street Communications, is filled with links to progressive news and opinion sites, and includes a blog sub-site with columns from many of Maine's populist and progressive activists.

Miller's own postings are there, too, addressing Iraqi civilian casualties, national Democratic politics, privacy, corporate accountability to society, and slamming Baldacci policies.
Miller said his positions as a candidate will follow the lines on his blog, but did not want to give more specifics until launching his effort to get the required 2000 to 3000 signatures on his nominating petition to force a primary runoff with Baldacci.