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Kennebec Journal - "Q&A with Ruth Summers"

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Kennebec Journal - "Q&A with Ruth Summers"

Ruth Summers, wife of Republican 1st Congressional District candidate Charlie Summers, is doing a lot of heavy lifting this fall to try to help her husband win the June primary and face a Democrat in the November 2008 election.

Her husband is on active duty in Iraq, and will most likely be there until July or August. Summers, of Scarborough, is a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve communications division.

So far, only one other Republican has stepped up to challenge him for the nomination — Dean Scontras of Eliot.

There are five Democrats fighting for their party's nomination: Mark Lawrence of South Berwick, Adam Cote of Portland, Mike Brennan of Portland, Chellie Pingree of North Haven and Ethan Strimling of Portland.

Here's a quick update on Charlie and what his wife is doing on the ground here.

KJ: How is Charlie doing?

Summers: Charlie's doing well. He's working in the green zone in Baghdad, Iraq with multinational forces. I send him an e-mail every day and talk to him on the phone once or twice a week. He's in good spirits.

KJ: What have you been up to with the campaign?

Summers: I've been up and down the 1st district and side to side. I'm working with county volunteers and chairs. I go to meetings. I make phone calls. I do everything Charlie would do if he were here.

KJ: What's the response been?

Summers: It's fantastic, even from folks I don't know. I get stopped. There's no more going out in my garden clothes.

KJ: The Democrats have a large field of candidates vying for their nomination. Any thoughts on them?

Summers: Nope. I'm really focused on Charlie's campaign. My job is to get him through the primary.

KJ: Any lessons learned from the last time Charlie ran for Congress? (He lost to U.S. Rep. Tom Allen in 2004 by a 60 to 40 margin.)

Summers: Charlie's been in this arena for a long time. The last time he ran was my first venture into politics. I don't know about lessons learned, but I wish there were more hours in the day. I wish I could call people at 2 a.m. when I'm awake.

KJ: Have you ever run for office?

Summers: I'm interested in politics, but I don't have the experience to run. I don't have a desire to run. I have a desire to send Charlie to D.C.

KJ: Are you getting a lot of help from party leaders?

Summers: We have a very strong group of folks I meet with on a regular basis. It's like having five campaign managers. They are leaders in our party who have been instrumental in leading me down the waters.

KJ: Can Charlie do anything to help with his own campaign? Write e-mails?

Summers: He's not allowed. There are strict rules about doing anything in politics when you are on active duty.


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