National GOP has eyes on Maine Senate District 25 contest

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FALMOUTH — A candidate in state Senate District 25 is getting some national attention.

Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray was named one of the top “14 in ’14” by the Republican State Leadership Committee’s “Right Women, Right Now” campaign.

“It’s not something I applied for, it was totally out of the blue for me,” Manchester said last week. “But it’s exciting, then it’s scary, too, because people place a responsibility on you; they expect you to come out, and first win and then to be a leader, and so it comes with expectations. We’ll see if I can step up to the challenge.”

She called the designation “a great honor,” and also said the RSLC didn’t explain why she was selected.

“But I know the criteria was that they were looking for new female leaders that are just coming into politics,” Manchester said. “Not career politicians, people that are coming in new to the position. So I suspect that’s one of the reasons. The other reason may be because it will be a pivotal race, just because of the political climate right now.”

Manchester’s Democratic opponent in the district that includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and part of Westbrook is former Falmouth Town Councilor Cathy Breen. The seat is being vacated by Cumberland independent Sen. Richard Woodbury, so it represents a pickup for one of the major parties.

At the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association’s national meeting on Aug. 13, the RWRN initiative announced that 558 new Republican female candidates are running for state-level races across the nation. Out of those 558 candidates, the RWRN unveiled their “14 in ’14 Races to Watch.”

Manchester said she doesn’t think the party’s attention will have a big impact on the race.

“Although it may give some opportunity to have publicity, that’s a great benefit in running, but I think really the bottom line when people get behind the curtain is who do they think is going to represent them the best, and I think that’s really the only thing on their mind when they cast the ballot,” she said.

Manchester is a real estate broker. She was also Maine’s first female police chief. She also raced stock cars, and once won a championship at Oxford Plains Speedway.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Republican Cathy Manchester is running for the state Senate District 25 seat that represents Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and part of Westbrook.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]