Weeza Matthias remembers vividly when Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders won his first mayoral race with just 10 votes.
That moment was fundamental to Matthias, who calls herself an “uber progressive” backing “about 98 percent” of Sanders’ views. She was touched by his ability to upset the establishment in Vermont and later the Democratic Party when he ran for president. She worked on his first presidential campaign four years ago.
All of her experiences taught her she could not sit on the sidelines when it comes to voting.
“I learned very young that my vote counts,” she said.
But Matthias, a 69-year-old retired physician from Bangor, said she is struggling to identify the local candidates who best support her views. Her indecision around Bangor City Council races is purely an information gap. She has not taken the time to learn much about the eight candidates running for three seats.
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Her indecision around the open Maine Senate race between Democrat Joe Baldacci, Republican Sean Hinkley and independent Kristie Miner is more complicated. Matthias knows the Democrat’s name is big in Maine politics — his brother, John Baldacci, was governor — but that’s exactly what she does not like about him.
“I think he’s a good mover and shaker, but I don’t particularly respect him,” she said.
Matthias’ dislike of Baldacci is also rooted in her support for state Rep. Victoria Kornfield, D-Bangor, who lost a close July primary to Baldacci in July after four terms in the lower chamber. She said anyone who claims to respect women but “keeps running and replacing the women” does not really support them.
Matthias said she thinks about power and politics often. She is discouraged by President Donald Trump’s and was terrified in September when he did not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses. She is also frustrated because she feels there is no way as a progressive to move the Democratic Party in a direction she likes, citing Joe Biden’s nomination for president.
“The young people are never going to vote for him because he’s too old, and he’s too white,” she said.
Matthias said she has not looked into Hinkley yet, but said it was “unlikely” she would vote for a Republican candidate because she currently sees the party as “morally bankrupt.”
The Bangor Daily News is following undecided voters ahead of the 2020 election. Read more about the project here. This series was produced with support from a grant from the American Press Institute.