Maine Green Party Leader to Run for Governor in 2010

Lynne Williams, Chair of the Maine Green Party, has announced that she intends to run for Governor of Maine in 2010. Based on the article below in the Bangor Daily News, Williams has a strong resume and could have a major impact in this race.

In 2006 Green Party gubernatorial candidate Pat LaMarche won 9.56% of the vote in Maine. In 2002, Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Carter won 9.28% of the vote in Maine.

Maine Green party chairwoman to run for governor
By Bill Trotter
BDN Staff

BAR HARBOR, Maine — An attorney who has championed numerous environmental and human rights causes in Maine has announced that she intends to run for governor in 2010.

Lynne Williams, 58, is state chairman of the Maine Green Independent Party and serves on the planning board in Bar Harbor. She has lived in Maine for 10 years, first in Augusta and then in Rockland before moving to Bar Harbor four years ago. In 2004, she ran unsuccessfully for the Maine House of Representatives as a Green party candidate in Rockland.

In addition to her legal degree, Williams has a doctorate in psychology from the University of Southern California. She grew up in New York City and has a grown son who is in college in San Francisco.

Williams announced her Blaine House bid in a prepared statement she sent Monday to the Bangor Daily News.

“The Green party platform, and my own values, are particularly suited to guiding a state through this type of [difficult economic] period,” Williams said in the statement. “I seek to create a new definition of growth and progress, where such terms are not defined by how many Wal-Marts are in a region, but rather by how much people in that region support and patronize their own locally owned businesses.”

Williams has been involved in numerous environmental and human rights causes in Maine over the past decade.

As an attorney, she represents Forest Ecology Network and RESTORE: The North Woods in their roles as intervenors in the permitting process for the Plum Creek development proposal on Moosehead Lake. She represents the Wildlife Alliance of Maine and Animal Welfare Institute in their efforts to protect endangered lynx by increasing restrictions on trapping in the state.

She also represents groups that oppose the development of liquefied natural gas terminals in Washington County and southern Maine towns that are concerned about Poland Spring’s use of groundwater in its water-bottling operations.

Former clients include anti-war protesters charged with criminal trespass after refusing to leave the Bangor offices of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and Friends of Magurrewock, which sought to halt construction of a new border crossing in the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Calais. She also represented Deane Brown, an inmate at Maine State Prison in Warren who unsuccessfully sued prison officials for barring him from speaking to the media.

Williams has advocated for repeal of Maine’s school administration consolidation law, favors impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, and briefly represented two men who were accused of trespassing on Martha Stewart’s property on Mount Desert Island. She has helped gay and lesbian couples in Maine register as domestic partners and has been honored by the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine for representing nonviolent protesters of the Iraq war.

Many politicians and business leaders in Maine have been rumored to be considering running for governor in 2010, but so far the only other person to indicate he plans to run is Steven Rowe, a Democrat who is barred by term limits from seeking another term as Maine’s attorney general. Gov. John Baldacci is barred by term limits from running for re-election.

A senior aide to Tom Allen, who this year unsuccessfully challenged Susan Collins for her U.S. Senate seat, has said the congressman will not run for governor, according to the Portland Press Herald.

Others who have been widely mentioned as considering Blaine House runs include Cianbro chairman Peter Vigue, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner John Richardson, state Sen. Peter Mills, Maine House Minority Leader Josh Tardy, Department of Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan, business leader Les Otten, U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, and former Speaker of the Maine House Glenn Cummings, among others.

Ronald Hardy


  1. It will be interesting to see if Lynne Williams can continue the growth the Maine Green Independent Party has had in Gubernatorial elections. The Greens have increase there share of the vote in each of the four elections in which the party has fielded a candidate for Governor.

    2006, Pat LaMarche 9.56%
    2002, Jonathan Carter 9.28%
    1998, LaMarche 6.8%
    1994, Carter 6.4%

    Look for 2010 to be the year the Greens finally break 10% even if a strong independent runs again. In 2006 LaMarche more then likely would have received more then 10% if not for Independent candidate Barbara Merrill (former democrat state legislator) who received 21% of the vote.

  2. Sounds like a good candidate. I hope GPUS gets behind her particularly in fundraising . Fundraising should begin now.

  3. Richard,

    Fund raising is not really an issue in Maine due to Maine’s clean election law. In 2006 LaMarche had to obtain 1,250 in state donations of $5 to qualify for clean elections funds (in 2010 that should be slightly higher). She did this with plenty of room to spare and received over $400,000 for her campaign. She would have been eligible for even more if one or more candidates spent considerably more particularly if one of the candidates spent considerable amounts of there own money due to the clean election laws “millionaire clause” .

    With clean election funds look for Lynne Williams to have between $500,000 and $700,000 to spend on her campaign.

    (note: in 2006 clean election funds allowed LaMarche to run on relatively equal footing with her Dem/Rep rivals, and 1,250 $5 donations is not that much for the Maine Green Independent Party who’s enrollment is over 27,000)

  4. Richard,

    Secondly GPUS currently is struggling to pay monthly expenses and is saddled with a fairly large debt, so the national party currently and for the foreseeable future will not be able to help individual candidates much with fund raising.

    Even if the GPUS is able to get on sound financial footing in the next three to six months what ever little money the party is able to squirrel away will go to Ballot Access efforts before it goes to individual candidates. When the national party has money to give to candidates (through the coordinated campaign committee) it usually is no more then $500 per candidate.

    Since this figure is so low and Governor’s races cost so much plus the fact that Maine has a clean election law look for GPUS to not directly assist Williams in raising funds.
    GPUS’s coordinated campaign committee usually gives money to candidates when it believes the limited funds available can make the difference between being elected or not. A great example of this would be David Doonan who was elected Mayor of the Village of Greenwich (NY) in March 2008 after receiving CCC funds

  5. So let’s see if Green Change (and/or similar organizations) can get something going like they did for Malik Rahim, with the flaws kinked out.

  6. It would be great to see the Maine Greens use the same phonebanking-from-home system that Green Change used for the Rahim campaign.

    As for fundraising, as Mike mentioned, Maine has a clean elections law (a pretty good one, as far as I know, not a third-party poison pill like Connecticut’s law) so money is less of an issue.
    Pretty soon Green Change will release its report of what worked and what could have been improved on the Rahim campaign. Robert Caldwell, Malik’s campaign manager, has already sent supporters his analysis of what happened, and I encourage GPW to repost that here.
    Another suggestion for the Lynne Williams campaign – try to run an online operation similar to the Nader/Gonzalez 2008 one. NG08 did a great job of using the web to engage their supporters in the campaign and ask them for donations and volunteer effort (which paid off pretty big, looking at their fundraising, ballot access, and vote total relative to other 3rd parties).

  7. personally I like to see some kind of new media (and old, along with traditional shoe leather) activism campaign which allows the digital volunteers to acumulate points which are visable to other volunteers. Hopefully this would produce some spirited good natured competition amongst the volunteers, resulting in increased e-mails, phone banking, volunteer recruitment, canvassing (of course this is limited to locals or those able to travel), and other actions .

    In some ways this is similar to the Green Change phone banking, with the addition in this model of a point system.

    I seem to remember a number of major party candidates having similar operations in the past (but I can not recall any specific example currently).

    Does anyone have an opinion or suggestion on this?
    I would love to hear everyones views plus any other suggestions which could lead to more effective Green campaigns.

  8. I think that Nader/Gonzalez 2008 had a competition where the person who recruited the most friends to the email list would win dinner with Nader. There were runner-up prizes as well. I’m sure that helped them build their supporter list. Obviously they were relying on Nader’s star power, but still, something like that could be adapted to the phonebanking system that Green Change was using.
    The system automatically records calling stats, so it wouldn’t be hard to figure out who’s spent the most time on the phone. We could have a ‘high scores’ list on the candidate’s site, displaying the names of the top ten volunteers in terms of calls made, hours logged, or supporters added to the email list.
    Greens don’t have a lot of green – we need to get creative!

  9. Mike Indiana,

    Your numbers are off. LaMarche had to collect 2000 valid $5 checks in 06. However the legislature changed the law to make it 3250 to collect now. Its not as easy as it sounds (but is certianly doable). We Maine Greens need to garner 5% inorder to keep party status. I personally am hoping for a contested primary (with both clean funding!). It would be great for publicity and would give us the best candidate.

  10. maine green,

    Thank for the correction on my numbers, I checked around and found that it was indeed 2,000 $5 donations that were required for clean election funding. What I didn’t recall and what hasn’t been mentioned yet is that she had to also gather 2,000 signatures from Maine voters to qualify for clean elections funds.

    I agree that the increased total of 3,250 $5 checks is not as easy as it sounds but I was wondering if you know if the legislature increased the number of signatures required to qualify for clean election funds.

  11. The number of signatures is the same as before- which is 4000 registered greens. There are approximately 35,000 registered greens in the state so you have to collect a lot of their signatures. The Checks can come from any registered voter.

    It is interesting to note that the legislature did NOT change the requirement for $5 checks in the house or senate races.I believe that the reason they changed the law is because in 2006 4 candidates qualified for CE funding. 2 Republicans (one of them won the primary) 1 Green and one Unenrolled candidate. These three candidates got around 60% of the total vote ( R 29%, G 10%, U: 21%) but the traditionally Funded Dem won with 38% (another minor candidate got approx 1%). The Dems are nervous about alternative candidates and are trying to reduce our chances.

  12. ~Woodstock Lives~ great show on sunday Lynne, sorry we couldn’t have coffee together after can we have a rain check? Seems we can talk party politics, its ok, just can’t do it during election season without inviting all opposing candidates etc, you know. I have time to do anykind of leg work you need I used to be an insurance appraiser and loved doing investigations etc. I lost your little slip of paper phone number (sorry) my number is 326 3269 hope to see you soon Bobby

  13. We here at Third Party Revolution endorse Lynne Williams in her campaign for Governor of Maine, along with many other third party and independent candidates seeking public offices nation-wide, ranging from local to federal levels.

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