George J. Mitchell

Gubernatorial Campaign, 1973-1974.

5.5 linear feet.

Catalog Number: M202.3

Background Note:
George J. Mitchell announced his candidacy for the governorship of Maine on January 3, 1974. The theme for his campaign was "There are two Maines. There should only be one." He contended that Maine was a place where many people came to enjoy Maine's abundant natural resources but also a place where unemployment was above the national average and one in six families lived below the poverty level. The goal of his governorship would be to align the "two Maines" into one: a place with both a protected environment and a strong economy.

Mitchell captured the Democratic nomination for governor and was universally considered a strong candidate and expected to defeat the Republican candidate James Erwin. Both were upset in the election, however, by Independent James Longley; voter discontent was a significant factor in the outcome. Major issues of the campaign, as Mitchell saw them, were the economy and inflation, health care and elderly issues, energy concerns and oil prices, and the environment. These issues have continued as themes throughout Mitchell's career.

Mitchell attributed his loss to "distrust and cynicism about politics and politicians," "widespread concern over the economy", and "the fact that he [Longley] conducted a very excellent campaign." Mitchell continued his work in public service, becoming the U.S. Attorney from Maine in 1977 and taking over Muskie's Senate post in 1980.

This record group consists of subject files, briefing materials, news clippings, photos, and memorabilia which document the 1973 to 1974 gubernatorial campaign. Files were created to track campaign activities and to provide background information pertinent to the development of campaign positions that related to the development of the economy, the energy crisis, conservation of the environment, and medical care for the poor and elderly. Subject files contain issue-related background material, research notes and drafts for position papers that were released during the campaign. Correspondence with Senator Muskie, campaign advisors, and major local supporters is also included. The series also contains formal publicity and candid photographs. The local and national political and economic climate is clearly reflected in these records.

Additional gubernatorial campaign files are located in series M202.4.2.

Access Restrictions: None.

George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives · Staff · Hours
Bowdoin College Library, 3000 College Station, Brunswick, Maine 04011-8421 · · (207) 725-3288