Joe Baldacci decides not to run for Congress

In a phone call this morning, Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci informed me that he has decided not to run for Congress in the second congressional district.

As published previously in this blog, Baldacci did two polls this summer and fall exploring his viability. In both polls, he had a solid lead against the current field. However, in the end, he decided that focusing on his family, legal practice, and Bangor City Council work needed to take precedence. No doubt he will someday seek higher office, but this moment just didn’t seem like the right time.

I have pasted a full statement from him below.

This means the democratic field is now set for state Senators Emily Cain and Troy Jackson to go head-to-head in June. I haven’t seen any polling that pits just the two of them, but from what I have seen, this should be pretty competitive.

Cain has the higher name recognition of the two, but Jackson has higher favorables among those who know him. Jackson has deeper working class roots in the district, but Cain is a ferocious campaigner. Both have built solid foundations for fundraising: Cain in the women’s community and Jackson in labor.

In essence, this is going to be one heck of a primary. Can’t wait.

Here is Joe Baldacci’s statement in full:

“In my family, public service and the opportunity to serve the great people of Maine has always been regarded as one of the highest callings. It is what led my father to hold public office; it is what led my brother John to become governor; and what has led all of us in the family to serve various roles of public service at the local, state and national level and it is what led me to serve on the Bangor City Council which has included being elected 3 times and having served as Mayor.

It is also what has led me, for the first time in my life, to consider seeking higher office.

As I have thought about running, I have been very warmly received by hundreds of people all across the Second District — and across Maine. They, too, are concerned about the direction of our State and our nation; more to the point, amidst all of the partisan bickering that passes for substance in Washington, they are looking for someone to do what my brother and Rep. Michaud have done for the past two decades — provide helpful solutions and practical answers to even our most intractable problems. That challenge is one I welcome. I very much would like to serve Maine in Congress and it would be an  honor and a privilege at some point to do just that.

People who know me know I look forward to the opportunity of running. But circumstances dictate that right now is not the right  time. I have some high profile cases I have been working on for the last couple of years in trial now as well as  cases going to trial in the next 90 days and, as much as I would like the opportunity to serve Maine people in Congress, I believe I have a duty to meet all of my obligations, follow through with all of my responsibilities to the best of my ability. My parents taught us to do the best job we can on the job in front of us. I believe more important than seeking higher office right now is my duty to complete as well as I can the jobs I have in front of me and complete obligations I had made some time ago.

There is no doubt that the support and the resources are there for me to run — polling shows me leading the field before the race has even started, there has barely been a day that has gone by without multiple people offering to volunteer their services in such a campaign, and financial pledges of support from family and friends have rained in unsolicited. There is no doubt that a campaign would  be great fun, and the opportunity to contrast my progressive views with the somewhat anachronistic views of the announced Republican candidates is one I  relish.
Over the last 22 years, I have focused my efforts on helping Maine people through my work on City Council and through the work of my law practice. Over that time, I have represented literally thousands of Maine people, families and small businesses and helped get results for them that make an enormous difference in their lives.

Fortunately, I know from experience that holding public office is not the only way we can make a difference in our community. In addition to my law work and my work on City Council, I have worked for 30 years to help elect candidates at all levels who have worked to make things better for Maine people, and I am not about to stop. I will be working hard to help elect Mike Michaud as our next Governor, to help undue the damage done to our state by our current governor, and to help elect Democrats up and down the ticket to help move this state moving forward in the right direction.”

Posted by Ethan Strimling