Maine State Senator Peter Mills

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Woman switches parties to support Mills for governor

By SUSAN M. COVER - Morning Sentinel | Kennebec Journal - December Staff Writer

Copyright 2005 Blethen Maine Newspapers Inc.

RICHMOND -- For nearly 40 years, Donna Loring was a Democrat.

On Thursday, she became a Republican.

Loring, a Richmond selectwoman and former legislative representative for the Penobscot Nation, said she's disappointed with Democratic leadership and believes Republican Sen. S. Peter Mills should be the next governor of Maine.

"We need solid party leadership to get this state out of the quagmire it's in," she said shortly after filing paperwork to change her affiliation at the Richmond Town Office.

Loring spent eight years in the Legislature representing the Penobscot Nation, and filled in for a few months earlier this year when the current tribal representative was ill.

She ran as a Democrat for the state Senate in 2004 but was defeated by Art Mayo. Loring said she does not plan to run for the Legislature in 2006.

Loring said she became disappointed with Democrats while serving the in Legislature, saying that she faced more opposition to ideas from Democrats than from Republicans.

She said even though Democrats control the Legislature and the governor's office, they still haven't made enough progress on tax and spending issues.

Mills, who accompanied Loring to the town office as she changed her affiliation, said Republicans need to reach out to "disaffected Democrats" and independents to increase party membership.

Mills faces former U.S. Rep. David Emery of St. George and Sen. Chandler Woodcock of Farmington for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Susan Cover -- 623-1056