AP

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ Democrat Mike Michaud is set to make his first major policy address since announcing his campaign for Maine governor.

Michaud plans to announce an economic platform Wednesday in Portland. Afterward he will hold a series of events through the end of the week with business leaders and community leaders across the state.

Spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt says the economic plan was borne out of conversations with business leaders and experts.

She said it's ''long on ideas and short on rhetoric.''

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Blaine Richardson says he will run as an independent in Maine's 2nd Congressional District race.

The Belfast conservative is expected to announce Monday on Bangor radio station WVOM that he's leaving the Republican Party.

The Kennebec Journal reports that Richardson received more than a third of the votes in the Republican primary for the 2nd Congressional District seat in 2012, losing to former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Campaign finance reports show Democratic challenger Mike Michaud outpacing the other two candidates in fundraising so far in the race for Maine governor.

According to reports filed Wednesday, Michaud raised nearly $700,000 in the latest reporting period that ended Dec. 31, and has now raised more than $1 million overall.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage has raised almost $719,000 overall, including more than $373,000 in the past six months.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Crystal Canney, a spokeswoman for Eliot Cutler's campaign, said people in Maine will benefit because Cutler won't be bought by or beholden to special interest groups. Canney said PAC money drives the agenda in campaigns and that Maine people deserve better.

The year-end fundraising filing deadline for the governor's race is midnight Tuesday.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ A report released Monday said money from outside groups seeking to influence Maine legislative races grew by more than 500 percent from 2008 to 2012.

The report said some nonprofits were able to shield corporate or individual donors behind those expenditures, transferring money multiple times before a donation is made.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Republican Sen. Susan Collins won't be unopposed on the primary ballot.

The head of a group that opposed same-sex marriage in Maine says he will offer a conservative voice in the GOP primary. Erick Bennett, director of the Maine Equal Rights Center, said he was filing his paperwork Monday.

Bennett accused Collins of supporting legislation that undercut the Second Amendment and criticized her for supporting Common Core Standards, which his group says erodes local control of curriculum.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ A leading environmental group is endorsing Democratic U.S. Rep. Michaud in what seems to already be a three-person governor's race in Maine.

The Sierra Club announced their support for Michaud at a news conference Monday.

The group had already said there's one candidate who's been stricken from their list: Gov. Paul LePage. That left either Michaud or independent candidate Eliot Cutler.

Spokesman Glen Brand says the environmental group is devoting all of its resources to replacing LePage with ``a pro-environment governor.''

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ The Democratic challenger to Maine Gov. Paul LePage has announced that he's gay, saying he needed to address his sexuality to counter ``whisper campaigns, insinuations and push-polls'' that raised questions about his personal life.

Six-term Congressman Mike Michaud writes in an op-ed provided to The Associated Press and two Maine newspapers that he wanted his political foes to know that, in his words, ``I am not ashamed of who I am.'' Michaud didn't identify who he thinks was behind the whisper campaign.

BANGOR, Maine (AP) _ The Maine AFL-CIO is endorsing Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor in the race against Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.

In the 2nd District race to take the spot being vacated by Michaud, the union is endorsing Democratic state Sen. Troy Jackson, a logger from Allagash. Jackson and state Sen. Emily Cain of Orono are the two leading Democrats in the race.

Three Republicans have declared their candidacies, including former state Sen. Kevin Raye and former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) _ In his quarterly finance report filed with the Federal Election Commission, Smith reported raising $8,054 during the quarter.

Smith, of Sangerville, is one of three Democrats running for the seat now held by Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, who's running for governor in 2014. Three Republicans are also running for the House seat.

Smith's campaign manager said his quarterly report did not appear on the FEC website on the deadline date of Oct. 15 because the report was mailed and hadn't been processed.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Maine Gov. Paul LePage will officially announce his re-election bid early next month.

The GOP governor will hold a campaign launch event Nov. 5 at the Buker Community Center in Augusta.

The event is one year before the day voters will head to the polls in 2014 to decide the three way race in Maine.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud and Independent candidate Eliot Culter have both already officially launched their bids for governor. Cutler lost to LePage by less than 2 percentage points in 2010.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The union representing Maine state workers is putting their support behind Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for Maine governor.

The Maine State Employees Association said on Thursday that Michaud's advocacy for affordable health care among other things earned him their endorsement in the 2014 election.

ELLSWORTH, Maine (AP) _ The former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has formally launched her campaign for U.S. Senate.

Shenna Bellows, who's seeking the Democratic Party nomination to challenge three-term Republican Susan Collins, told supporters Wednesday in Ellsworth that the nation needs more ``courage and honesty'' in Washington.

She held the kickoff event in Ellsworth, next to the town of Hancock, where she grew up. That's being followed by events in Portland, Lewiston and Eliot, along with a rally Thursday in Presque Isle.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ The Assistant GOP Leader in Maine's State House says he is suspending his campaign for the 2nd Congressional District seat.

Rep. Alex Willette of Mapleton announced his decision in an email to supporters on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old says he believes that his energy will be better spent "helping Republicans win Maine's 2nd, working to keep the Governor's mansion and retaking the majority in the legislature.'' He says the race is a chance for Republicans to send a fiscal conservative to Washington to stop out-of-control spending.

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) _ Former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye says he's running for Maine's open 2nd Congressional District Seat and plans a formal announcement after Labor Day.

Earlier this week, former Republican state treasurer Bruce Poliquin announced his candidacy. Raye, also a Republican, said at the time he wasn't ready to make an announcement. But he confirmed Thursday to The Portland Press Herald that he intends to run. Also in the race is Republican Blaine Richardson of Belfast.

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