Maine, nation votes

Posted Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in News

Maine, nation votes

Voters line up in Brunswick to cast ballots on Tuesday. (T. Drumm)

by Gina Hamilton

PORTLAND -- A very busy and eventful election night has changed the landscape of Maine politics, while the national scene remained virtually the same as it was before the election.

In Maine, former Gov. Angus King, running as an independent, won handily against Republican Sec. of State Charlie Summers, Democrat State Sen. Cynthia Dill, and two other independents, Andrew Ian Dodge and Danny Dalton.  King had 54 percent of the vote, followed by Summers with 29 percent and Dill with 14 percent.  King took the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe.  The seat changed from Republican control to independent control.  King is moderate on fiscal issues and liberal on social issues.  Although he will not discuss which party he is likely to caucus with, his social record seems to suggest that he will caucus with the Democrats in the Senate.

Both Rep. Chellie Pingree and Rep. Mike Michaud were reelected to their seats as well by overwhelming margins.  In the first district, Democratic Pingree beat challenger Jon Courtney by a margin of 66-34 percent; in the second district, Democratic Michaud won against challenger Republican Kevin Raye 58-42 percent.

Elsewhere in the state, massive changes took place throughout the Legislature.  Both Democratic and Republican leaders believe that the Maine House and Senate have flipped from Republican to Democratic control; with a Republican governor in Blaine House, there will have to be a lot more give and take in governance in the next two years.  The House numbers are 89 Democrats, 57 Republicans, 4 unenrolled, and one too close to call.   In the Senate, the Democrats now control 19 seats of 35.

Question One, the measure that would allow same-sex couples to get marriage licenses from the state for civil marriage, passed in Maine 54-46 percent.  Two other gay marriage propositions, in Maryland and Washington, also passed, while Minnesota turned back a proposition which would create a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Three bond measures also on the ballot which would pay for Land for Maine's Future, transportation and infrastructure spending, and water and sewer lines, passed easily.  The Higher Education bond was still too close to call on Wednesday morning.

Nationally, President Barack Obama won the election with an electoral count of 303 at midnight on Wednesday, with Florida yet to be decided.  Obama maintained a small popular vote margin as well.

In the Senate, Democrats hung onto the seats that were in jeopardy, including Clare McCaskell's in Missouri.  Her challenger came under fire for making insensitive remarks early in the campaign about women who are raped and become pregnant.  A second senate candidate in Indiana, Richard Mourdock, also lost his bid for election owing to an insensitive comment about rape.

Closer to home, Elizabeth Warren ousted Scott Brown in Massachussetts, returning the seat to Democratic hands.  In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine was reelected as well.  And in Connecticut, Democrat Chris Murphy beat Republican Linda MacMahon.

While the Democrats did not lose seats in the Senate, they did not gain enough seats in the House to acheve a majority.

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