Schneider NRSC’s pick? Bellows dips a toe

I have not confirmed this personally, but a Republican source with firsthand knowledge says the National Republican Senatorial Committee has dispatched staffers to help gather signatures for Maine Attorney General William Schneider’s potential bid for the U.S. Senate.

On it’s face this move would seem to indicate that the NRSC believes Schneider is their best shot of retaining a seat that will be vacated by U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine. It also makes one wonder if Schneider was asked to run.

Schneider, after all, had not been mentioned as a potential candidate. The only hint was a strong contingent of AG staff at Snowe’s presser Friday, at which time, Schneider told the Sun Journal he was thinking about it.

In a related development, Shenna Bellows, of the ACLU of Maine, announced on Facebook today that she was weighing a run for the First Congressional District as a Democrat.

This is an intriguing development for several reasons. First, Bellows is an effective advocate at the State House and a tireless one. Several people have told me that she very nearly convinced Republicans to defeat the GOP bill that repealed Maine’s same day voter registration law. Some have argued that she would have done them a favor given that the repeal law was overturned by voters in November — and by a large margin.

Second, Bellows will make an appealing option for voters who may be wary of Pingree saturation, that is, if former House Speaker Hannah Pingree gets in the CD 1 race.

But the latter may have nothing to do with Bellows’ decision. It may simply be that she has ambitions greater than her ACLU advocacy. If she can get into the primary Bellows will get a chance to showcase what people see all the time in Augusta.