Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House Special Edition

Election Results

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. If you would like more specific information regarding an item in this newsletter or related to government relations, please contact a member of our Government Relations Practice Group.

Tuesday proved to be a big night in Maine and national politics. With a little over 90 percent of precincts reporting in Maine, we know the trends but not the outcome of all the local races.

Presidential Election

  • President Barack Obama (D) 57 percent
  • Governor Mitt Romney (R) 41 percent

Maine added to President Obama’s win nationally. There was never any question that President Obama would carry the state of Maine. There was, however, speculation that Governor Romney would carry Maine’s Second Congressional District, giving him one Electoral Vote.

U.S. Senate Election

  • Governor Angus King (I) 53 percent 
  • Secretary of State Charlie Summers (R) 30 percent
  • State Senator Cynthia Dill (D) 13 percent

With Senator Snowe’s late surprise announcement regarding her retirement from the U.S. Senate, the campaign to replace her was short in duration. Governor King was heavily favored as soon as he announced his candidacy for this position and never was in serious trouble of losing his lead. Our partner, Elizabeth “Lib” Butler, who served as Governor King’s legal counsel when he was Governor and remains a close advisor to the Senator-elect, was tapped to bring Pierce Atwood’s legal services to the campaign. As such, Pierce Atwood provided counsel, including pro bono advice regarding compliance with federal election laws, to Governor King’s campaign.

First Congressional District

  • Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D) 65 percent
  • State Senator Jon Courtney (R) 35 percent

The results of this race do not come as a big surprise. Senator Courtney was never able to match the fundraising advantages of Congresswoman Pingree and relied on a more “grass roots” campaign. His hard work, however, was not able to overcome the advantages enjoyed by an incumbent member of Congress.

Second Congressional District

  • Congressman Michael Michaud (D) 58 percent
  • State Senator Kevin Raye (R) 42 percent

The results of the Congressional race in the Second District were a bit tighter than in the First District but do not come as a big surprise. Polling throughout the race showed Congressman Michaud with a lead. The race did tighten at the end following endorsements of Senator Raye by two of Maine’s largest papers but that was not enough for Senator Raye to overcome Congressman Michaud.

Question 1 – Authorize Same Sex Marriage

  • Yes 53 percent
  • No 47 percent

Question One was the hardest fought of all the ballot questions this year. Supporters of this effort were extremely well organized and waged a very long and intense campaign. Their work paid off in delivering a victory despite the fact that the voters of Maine rejected same sex marriage in a referendum in 2009.

Maine Legislature

These are the races where incomplete data means that we are not currently able to report definitive numbers. The broad strokes of the battle for control of both houses of the Maine Legislature, however, are dramatic.

Control of the Maine Senate has switched hands and Democrats are firmly in control of the Senate. Eighteen seats are a majority in the Maine Senate and Democrats have already crossed this threshold and final results could see the Democrats with 20 or more Senators.

Control of the Maine House has also switched hands to the Democrats. The margin in the House looks to be large. Before this election, Democrats controlled 70 seats in the House. Given yesterday’s results, Democrats likely will control more than 85 seats. Seventy-six seats are all that is needed in the Maine House for a majority. Final numbers in the House may not be known for some time, as it looks like some races will go to recount.

Obviously, this means big change for Maine. Both the Democrat and Republican caucuses in both the House and the Senate will soon meet to elect new legislative leaders. As things get organized, there will also be new committee assignments with all committees having new House and Senate Chairs. Another peculiarity of Maine state government is that Maine’s three Constitutional Officers (i.e., Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer) are elected by the Legislature. This means that these positions will almost certainly be filled by three new occupants.

While there will be a lot of new faces in the Legislature during the next session, a lot of legislators on both sides of the aisle will be returning and we, along with our colleague former Governor John Baldacci, have maintained good, solid relationships with them. Please contact us if you have any questions