Green Room

Red State…Maine?

posted at 9:53 pm on November 5, 2010 by

Well, not entirely. Incumbent Democrats Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud both won their races. A disappointment, sure, but then I look at this map again:

That image is from the Bangor Daily News website, which has posted the full results from Tuesday’s election. Scrolling down, one gets an idea of the extent of the carnage inflicted upon the Maine Democrats last Tuesday. Before the election, there were 20 Democrats and 15 Republicans in the Maine Senate. When the Senate reconvenes in January, there will be 20 Republicans, 14 Democrats and one independent. In the House, the pre-election spread was 95 Democrats, 55 Republicans and 1 independent. Post-election, it’s 77 Republicans, 73 Democrats and 1 independent. This is the first time the GOP has controlled all three branches of government since 1966.

Before the election, Republican Paul LePage was heavily favored to win the Blaine House in various polls but early in the night, it wasn’t looking good for him. The first results of the night were from the biggest cities in southern Maine and they showed a troubling trend – the Democrats were throwing their candidate under the bus and voting for independent Eliot Cutler.

At one point, Cutler had 49% of the counted vote. On various social media sites, the Cutler supporters and the Democrats were ecstatic and celebrating what looked like a sure upset by the independent.

Then…gloriously…the rural vote started to come in.

Cutler continued to gain votes, but LePage started racking them up faster. In some rural communities, he was getting twice as many votes as his opponents. In the early morning hours, he took a small lead and from that point on, he never looked back. By the next morning, he was up 7,500 votes and by noon the next day, was up just over 10,000. Democrat Libby Mitchell had conceded the night before and once Cutler realized rural Maine was voting against him, saw the writing on the wall and did the same, in a gracious, and emotional, speech.

A quick aside: if the election had been held one week later, Eliot Cutler would now be Maine’s governor-elect, which speaks volumes about the weakness of the Democrat candidate in the race.

This is a pretty stunning turn of events. The Democrat candidate for governor failed to gain a plurality in any of the state’s 16 counties, and her party lost control of both chambers of the legislature in one night. Thanks to how Maine’s Constitution is written, the GOP-controlled legislature now gets to elect the Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and State Auditor.

Governing this state will not be easy. We’re in a pretty deep fiscal hole, and the state was recently listed last on Forbes’ list of best states for business. I believe, though, that the state’s new leadership is up to the task of bringing business back to Maine. I look forward to the next four years.

In the end, I offer a simple but sincere congratulations to Governor-elect LePage, who was once a homeless 11-year-old living on the streets of Lewiston and is now the chief executive of the state.

An amazing, and uniquely American, story.

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California is the same way… Get away from the big cities and it is a VERY RED state…

Khun Joe on November 5, 2010 at 11:03 PM

So what are the chances of getting some conservatives to replace Snowe and Collins in ’12 and ’14?

Ha We on November 5, 2010 at 11:52 PM

Of all the places I’ve been recently, I can think of no other as economically depressing as rural Maine.

Other then York that map doesnt suprise me though. Weird state, both the conservative and liberal strains are somewhat unique.

I think Snowe will be fine, but I’m sure there is some group of people about two thousand miles away looking to muck up the primary process with some third rate candidate.

swamp_yankee on November 6, 2010 at 3:11 AM

Hurray Maine!!! Hurray, hurray, hurray!! I’m so delighted for all of you. Rural Maine finally got fed up and not a moment too soon. I’m a part time Mainer who loves the state and have often wondered when the inner and northern counties would finally get their fill of the casual neglect Augusta has heaped on them all these years. Way to go Maine!!!!! Let’s hope NY is next, since they are in pretty much the same boat. In their case though, the City is so big that the battle will be much tougher.

jeanie on November 6, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Don’t forget that LePage ran Marden’s, a huge business in the state.
It’s kinda funny that alot of my dem friends voted for LePage. None of ’em liked Mitchell at all and after explaining Cutler’s background(Jimmy Carter anyone) they quickly changed their vote for LePage.

scrubbiedude on November 6, 2010 at 9:59 AM

Last time I was in rural Maine I saw LePage signs everywhere, even in places on the coast. I was surprised and pleased. Don’t know what running Marden’s had to do with it though since the Dems usually find a way to tear down business execs as fat cats and greedy money grabbers. I think that Maine voters realized they needed to try something new as the old wasn’t working…wise folks. Maine needs this kind of change as do RI and MA but these haven’t seemed to figure this out yet. NH tried it for a short time but went back to GOP this year–thank God. Lynch is a Dem but his hands are pretty much tied by all the GOP in positions of power. Under Lynch, NH dropped from(I believe)6th from top) in business friendly states to about 16th(not sure of actual numbers but he drove it down). He tried to tax LLCs but got hammered by that. Dems are just NOT good for business and jobs—period.

jeanie on November 6, 2010 at 10:19 AM

I think Snowe will be fine, but I’m sure there is some group of people about two thousand miles away looking to muck up the primary process with some third rate candidate.

swamp_yankee on November 6, 2010 at 3:11 AM

I think the leadership is smarter than a bunch of blog commenters. WHile some folks are doubling down, many others are quietly sitting around a table somewhere determined to do a better job in 2012. Hopefully, if Snowe has a challenger, it will be a good one.

Sekhmet on November 6, 2010 at 12:14 PM

This one had me up all night watching the returns. LePage was down by thousands. Then down by hundreds. Then at one point he was down by four. When he finally pulled into the lead, I may have altered local weather patterns by exhaling!

Maybe this means I can move back to Maine some time.

joe_doufu on November 6, 2010 at 12:15 PM

As someone who spent 6 years full time in Maine and a lifetime of summers there, I’m cheering this great, great news.

A quick aside: if the election had been held one week later, Eliot Cutler would now be Maine’s governor-elect, which speaks volumes about the weakness of the Democrat candidate in the race.

Is this because he was gaining momentum?

Buy Danish on November 6, 2010 at 2:23 PM

Is this because he was gaining momentum?

Yes. He was moving up in the polls as Democrats realized Mitchell was going to lose. Another week would have given him the time he needed to make that case.

Slublog on November 6, 2010 at 6:39 PM

Anyone who’s not spent time in Maine, you’ve missed out.

It is spectacular!

roy_batty on November 6, 2010 at 10:36 PM

It remains to be seen, though, whether Maine’s Republicans will be any use. In the past, to the extent they’ve been visible at all, they’ve been the sort of Republicans to whom “public-private partnership” is the holiest phrase in the English language and whose notion of ‘business friendly’ is rent-seeking for their friends in business.

LePage’s bull-in-a-china-shop style may presage another Chris Christie; or he may turn out to be coarse, crass, and a waste of time. We shall see.

PersonFromPorlock on November 7, 2010 at 9:35 AM