On Nov. 8, Mainers headed to their local polling stations to cast their votes. Many candidates were up for election for a variety of offices, including state senators, the governor, and representatives to the U.S. Congress.
Maine’s 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts had elections to determine their representatives. In the 1st district, voters had to decide between the incumbent representative, Democrat Chellie Pingree, and her Republican challenger, Edwin Thelander. Pingree was first elected to office in 2008 and has held a relatively stable position, winning by more than thirteen points in every general election since her initial election. On the other hand, Thelander was completely new to politics. With 62.8 percent of the total vote, Pingree secured her eighth consecutive term.
The 2nd Congressional District had three candidates on its ballot: Jared Golden, the incumbent Democrat; Bruce Poliquin, a Republican; and Tiffany Bond, an independent. Unlike the 1st Congressional District, this race was much closer. Golden had 48.08 percent of the vote, and Poliquin had 44.66 percent. Because neither had 50 percent of the vote, the race will head to a ranked-choice runoff. This means that the candidate with the least support, Tiffany Bond, will be eliminated from the face. All the people who voted for her will have their votes counted for their second-ranked choice.
Although unofficial, Golden has claimed victory in a statement to Lewiston reporters, saying, “I am deeply honored that the people of Maine’s 2nd District have chosen me to represent them in Washington for another two-year term. Although Bruce Poliquin may not be willing to concede, at this point the final result is undeniably clear.”
One of the most important elections of this year was the race for governor. The ballot had three candidates: incumbent Democrat Janet Mills, Republican Paul LePage, and independent Sam Hunkler. Mills and LePage have long been at odds as Mills had served as the state’s attorney general when LePage served as governor, and they had multiple disagreements. Following Tuesday’s election, Mills walked away with 55.5 percent of the vote and LePage with 42.5 percent. To a crowd in Portland on Tuesday, Mills stated, “Tonight, you sent a clear message — a message that says we will continue to move forward, and we will not go back. We will continue to fight problems, and not one another.”
Waterville also had to elect a new state senator for District 16, which encompasses Albion, Benton, Clinton, Fairfield, Unity Twp., Waterville, and Winslow. There were two candidates on the ballot, Democrat David LaFountain, and Republican Michael Perkins. Although not officially declared yet, LaFountain currently has 52.5 percent of the vote, and Perkins has 47.5 percent.
This year, Maine has enjoyed a strong voter turnout. Over 200,000 absentee ballots were cast, and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said, “That’s a record for a gubernatorial election, and at the polls, we’ve seen lines in Portland. We’ve seen steady turnout all across the state,” in reference to the surge of absentee ballots in an interview with Maine Calling.
~ Vivian Nguyen `25