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