How does my ballot compare to yours?

So here it is. My last column before the March 3 election, and it’s time to come clean.

Here’s the round up of my votes. I’m sharing them not because I think that you should vote the same way that I did, but because as I was making my decision, hearing and talking to others helped me make up my mind.

I walked into Portland City Hall on Tuesday to vote in-person absentee. As I trudged up the steps, I had narrowed my choice for president to US Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Frankly, even getting to that point wasn’t easy, and I’ll be honest that I wish US Sen. Cory Booker was still in the Democratic primary race. He would have been a contender for my vote.

Bill Trotter|BDN

When it came down to filling in that circle on my paper ballot – I love that Maine uses paper ballots and that voting is as easy as picking up a pen – two arguments from two very different sources tipped the scale for me.

My activist, thoughtful, wise-beyond-her-years 16-year-old daughter has been very clear that she believes that the next president should not be in their 70s. She loves Joe Biden, she likes Elizabeth Warren – particularly her plan for everything – and she believes that it’s time for a woman president. On that point, she’s strong – and right.

She has her entire future ahead of her, and, at risk of over-simplifying her argument, she believes that a younger candidate better represents her.

The second argument came from the endorsement of The State, South Carolina’s largest and most respected newspaper. The State on Tuesday endorsed Buttigieg.

“History does not lie,” The State wrote. “During the last half-century, the Democratic Party has only won the presidency when it has resisted the temptation to pick status-quo nominees and shown the courage to choose centrist outsiders with fresh, optimistic messages. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama prevailed in part because they understood the values of real-world America. All three successfully connected with voters by tapping into the sensibilities of average Americans.”

The paper described Buttigieg’s plans as “aspirational yet realistic,” a good balance for me, a strong proponent of raging incrementalism.

At this stage in the race, it’s common for voters to pick apart the candidates, finding flaws in each one. That was not my issue.

I have found a reason to like every candidate in the race for the Democratic nomination. US Sen. Bernie Sanders has a clarity of purpose and straight-forward, authentic message that is a exact contrast to the plutocracy of President Donald Trump.

US Sen. Amy Klobuchar just wins – and wins in tough places for Democrats. Her snow-storm entrance into the race is still one of my favorite moments and her moderation seems to me like it would appeal to swing voters in the Midwest.

Former Vice Joe Biden has given a lifetime of service to our country. He’s been a leader on LGBTQ issues – even if sometimes indelicately – and he has the working class bona fides that would make him a formidable general election candidate.

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has put his money where his mouth is – and I don’t mean just with campaign advertising. He has been an effective and ground-breaking advocate for gun safety and on climate change. He got there before most of us and helped to bring us along.

Tom Steyer, who returned to the debate stage in South Carolina this week, has demonstrated his absolute commitment to fighting the existential threat posed by climate change.

And Warren. Her policies are smart, and she has a better-developed, fuller platform than any other candidate in the race. She’s super smart, and I love her fire. I would wait in line all day for a selfie with her. If Maine had ranked-choice voting in the primary, she would have been my first choice, followed by Mayor Pete.

Just to be absolutely clear, I would vote for each and every one of these candidates before I’d vote for President Trump. His hatefulness, bigotry and policies that target the vulnerable and less fortunate make him unfit for office.

As I wrote before, I voted “No” on Question 1, which would repeal a new law that limits exceptions to Maine’s vaccine requirements for public schools. Vaccines save lives, they are the very best things that we can do for our children and the biggest advance in public health since clean water.

As a Portland resident, I voted “Yes” to expand ranked-choice voting in municipal elections. Ranked-choice voting gives us more voice – and better options – and it’s a reform that we should have up and down the ballot.

One more point: If you encounter someone collecting signatures on Election Day, make sure you understand the issue. Some disgruntled Republicans are trying to block ranked-choice voting in the presidential election. I won’t sign, and I hope you won’t either.

There you have it. That’s my ballot and a short explanation of why I did what I did. Trust yourself, support the candidate you think will do the best job, vote your conscience on local issues, and I believe that whether we agree or not, the election will turn out OK.


David Farmer

About David Farmer

David Farmer is a political and media consultant in Portland, where he lives with his wife and two children. He was senior adviser to Democrat Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor and a longtime journalist. You can reach him at