Under the Dome: 2014 Maine Election Edition

Maine’s polls closed a little more than sixteen hours ago and, except for a handful of recounts for Maine House and Senate seats, the results are in. Pierce Atwood’s Government Relations team, which includes John Delahanty and Andrea C. Maker, and Pierce Atwood’s Senior Advisor, Economic Development and Government Relations, Former Governor John E. Baldacci, have these following observations about yesterday’s Maine election results.**

Governor’s Race: Winner - Governor Paul LePage

Eliot Cutler
(Unenrolled)

Paul LePage
(Republican)

Michael Michaud
(Democrat)

8.3%

48.4%

43.3%

Governor LePage was re-elected Tuesday night by a larger margin than generally expected, securing his second term which starts January 7th. We can likely expect themes from his first term to carry over to his second term. These include continued opposition to the expansion of Medicaid, further reforms of Maine’s welfare system and stable tax policies. We can also anticipate an effort to shrink both government spending and the size of State government and a renewed focus on energy issues. As we have seen from his first term in office, Governor LePage will not hesitate to use the veto authority that is granted to him under the Maine Constitution. Pierce Atwood attorneys enjoy strong relationships with the Governor. Gloria Pinza, Pierce Atwood’s Managing Partner, is expected to continue to serve on the Governor’s Judicial Selection Committee. Others at the firm, likewise, have strong ties with the Governor and his staff.

Some of the Governor’s priorities may take a back seat at the very outset of the 127th Legislature, as the first order of business will be budget-related. Heading into the next biennial budget cycle, Maine will be facing a “structural gap” thought to be hundreds of millions of dollars that must be closed in order to keep the State’s budget in balance. Governor LePage has until January 9th to submit his biennial budget to the Legislature. This will put significant pressure on retaining tax incentives relied on by businesses, as the Governor’s financial team, and ultimately the Legislature, look for ways to balance the State’s budget.

 

United States Senate Race: Winner - Senator Susan Collins

Shenna Bellows
(Democrat)

Susan Collins
(Republican)

31.5%

68.5%

Senator Collins was elected to her fourth term in the U.S. Senate. Her victory, combined with other Republican Senate victories nationwide, will give control of the U.S. Senate to Republicans in the new Congress. Senator Collins’ role in the majority party next year will only enhance her stature in the Senate, where she currently sits on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. Avery Day in our Government Relations Practice Group served on Senator Collins’ D.C. staff and currently serves as the Treasurer of Senator Collins’ federal leadership PAC.

 

1st Congressional District Race: Winner - Chellie Pingree

Isaac Misiuk
(Republican)

Richard Murphy
(Unenrolled)

Chellie Pingree
(Democrat)

30.3%

9.2%

60.5%

Congresswoman Pingree was elected to her fourth term in the U.S. Congress. As anticipated, Republicans maintained control of the U.S. House of Representatives and Congresswoman Pingree will again serve in the minority party during the next Congress. She, however, plays a prominent role in the minority caucus and will likely maintain her position on the powerful House Committee on Appropriations.

 

2nd Congressional District Race: Winner - Bruce Poliquin

Emily Cain
(Democrat)

Bruce Poliquin
(Unenrolled)

Blaine Richardson
(Republican)

 

42.0%

46.8%

10.9%

Former State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has been elected to represent Maine’s Second Congressional District in this year’s contest for the open Congressional District 2 seat. Congressman-Elect Poliquin enters Congress as a freshman in the majority party.  His first term in office will be a developmental term as he learns the ropes in Washington. Given his win, we should expect the majority leadership to aid him with committee assignments and legislation. Poliquin will also likely use the next two years to build his base of support in the Second District, perhaps by striking a less partisan tone than in the past.

 

Maine State Senate Races: Too Close to Call!

Democratic Seats

Republican Seats

*Subject to change

16*

19*

There were a number of very competitive State Senate elections this cycle.  At this time, some races are too close to call so the percentage of seats controlled by each party could very well change.  It will likely take a week or two to resolve the recounts and determine the balance in the Maine Senate.

 

Maine State House Races: Democrats Retain Control of the House

Democratic Seats

Republican Seats

Unenrolled Seats

*Subject to change

79*

68*

4*

While Republicans managed to pick up seats in the Maine House, this chamber remains under Democratic control. The present seat count of 79 Democrats to 68 Republicans may change with Democrats losing two seats, which would bring the count to 77 Democrats, 70 Republicans and 4 Independent/Unenrolled representatives. The Democrats may, at times, need the help of these 4 Independent/Unenrolled Representatives who appear to have been elected. The House will continue to lean further to the left than the Senate, which traditionally has been the more moderate of the two bodies. The Democrats numbers in the House also ensure they likely will decide who fills the Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Treasurer positions during the 127th Maine Legislature but, depending on the result of recounts, they may need the support of the Independent/Unenrolled Representatives.

 

Ballot Questions

Question 1
Yes 46.3% 
No 53.7%

Maine voters, again, rejected a referendum question to prohibit bear baiting, hounding and trapping.

Question 2
Yes 60.2%  
No 39.8%

Maine voters approved $8 million in borrowing to create an animal and plant disease and insect control facility at the University of Maine.

Question 3
Yes 61.8%  
No 38.2%

Maine voters approved $8 million in borrowing for loans to small businesses to be administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (“FAME”) and regional economic development agencies, as well as $4 million in borrowing for FAME commercial loan insurance in partnership with Maine lending institutions.

Question 4
Yes 62.6%
No 37.4%

Maine voters approved $10 million in borrowing to expand genetic and biometric research capabilities at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor.

Question 5
Yes 50.96%
No 49.04%

Maine voters appear to have approved $3 million in borrowing for biotechnology workforce training at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.

Question 6
Yes 64.5%
No 35.5%

Maine voters approved $10 million in borrowing for water-related projects, including funding for stream crossings and culvert upgrades, wetland restoration, and wastewater and drinking water revolving loan funds.

Question 7
Yes 58.8%
No 41.2%

Maine voters approved $7 million in borrowing for capital investments to facilitate the growth of marine-related businesses to be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

 
**These election results were obtained from the Bangor Daily News as of 11AM on Wednesday, 11/5/14, and through contact with both Democratic and Republican legislators and legislative staffers.