September 29, 2022

Political candidates in closely watched Maine races net millions – OpenSecrets

Newly-elected Maine Governor Janet Mills delivers her victory speech at Maine Democrats’ election night for Mills and Rep. Chellie Pingree at Aura in Portland on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

One of the most watched races in Maine of the 2022 election cycle is for the seat of governor. Nor the incumbent Democratic President Janet Mills nor the Republican candidate and former governor. Paul Le Page against a primary opponent. They will meet in November.

In the 2022 cycle alone, Mills managed to raise over $3.2 million, more than double the nearly $1.5 million raised by his Republican challenger in the same period.

Mills has already topped $3 million raised for his entire 2018 gubernatorial campaign. In his previous two gubernatorial elections in 2010 and 2014, LePage raised $1.2 million and $2 million, respectively. of dollars.

But LePage’s past governance was full of controversial and racist remarks and offensive rhetoric. One was during a 2010 federal discussion, where he claimed he wouldn’t be afraid to tell President Barack Obama to “go to hell,” and continued to criticize his administration. .

Mills was attorney general while LePage was governor. Because of decades-long rivalry between the two, this particular race promises to be one of the most fiercely competitive elections in the country. The two have never opposed in an election before.

Although Mills and LePage currently face off in a relatively different political climate, LePage for follow-up Mills in 2017 over a series of political disagreements as she refused to represent her administrative posts – including backing former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and travel bans to Muslim-majority countries.

Maine’s unique constitution has contributed to this rivalry. Unlike most states that authorize the governor to appoint the attorney general or hold public elections for the office, in Maine the Legislative Assembly is invested with power choose the Attorney General.

Possible change of power in the 2nd congressional district

One of the most expensive races in the state of Maine, according to numbers broken down by OpenSecrets, is the Congressional Race in the 2nd District.

As the largest congressional district in the state, it covers more than 80% of the geographical territory of the State. Candidates running in the 2nd Congressional District race collectively raised $5.3 million ahead of the primaries, with incumbent Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) raising the highest amount of more than $3 million.

Prior to representing the 2nd District for two terms, Golden served in the Maine House of Representatives. While he only raised about $5,000 each for the two Maine House races, Golden raised over $5 million for each of its two congressional elections. The $3 million he has raised so far this round puts him on pace to match his previous congressional totals. About 75% of what Golden raised this cycle came from out-of-state contributions.

Republican candidates Bruce Poliquin and Elizabeth Caruso both competed to earn the right to attempt to knock Golden down in what turned out to be a tightly competitive primary race. But Poliquin emerged victorious with almost 60% votes, while Caruso obtained about 40%.

November’s general election promises to be just as competitive, if not more so, given that Poliquin was a former House Representative for Maine’s 2nd congressional district from 2015-2018.

Golden, who was first elected in 2018 to represent the 2nd arrondissement, beat Poliquin in 2018. Although Poliquin was the first choice of more voters in this election, Golden won under Maine’s ranked-choice voting system in the first federal race to be decided by this method, granting Maine a Democratic-controlled congressional district.

Poliquin received 49.5% of the vote and Golden 50.5%, in what was the most expensive race in state history and attracted more than $13 million in outside spending. But Poliquin filed a complaint to stop counting votes on the ranked choice voting system in his neck and neck race against Golden in 2018, calling the system unconstitutional. In December 2018, a federal judge ruled versus Poliquin and upheld Maine’s right to use rank-choice voting.

Maine became the first state at adopt ranked choice voting for all statewide offices in the 2016 statewide primaries. But in their general elections, this voting system is used only for federal offices, including that of the president.

In these types of elections, voters rank candidates according to their preferences on the ballots assigned to them, and winners are declared based on first-preference votes. In the event that no candidate obtains a majority of the first preference votes, those with the fewest first preference votes are eliminated. As a result, second preference votes are cast on the ballot, then deciding the winner by tallying the adjusted votes.

At the end of this process, Golden had won by a narrow margin of only 1%and had raised nearly $5.7 million that year, compared to $3.9 million for its counterpart.

According to the Cook Political Report, Maine’s 2nd District was elusive to Democrats before Golden’s victory in 2018. While the district has generally had a strong Democratic leaning, an independent wave has emerged in some recent election cycles – which was clearly visible in the 2014 and 2016 primaries. In both election cycles, the Democratic candidates were expected to have certain victories, but in each case Poliquin won the seat.

New challenger in the 1st arrondissement

Candidates running in Maine’s 1st congressional district, which covers the southern coastal area of ​​the state and about 20% of the state’s geographic territory, collectively raised a total of approximately $578,000. Similar to the gubernatorial race, the district’s candidates qualified uncontested in their respective primaries for this fall’s general election.

Outgoing Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) raised a total of about $332,000, 62% of which came from outside contributions. She was the first woman elected to Congress from the 1st Congressional District In 2008and has served seven terms since.

In the 2022 election, Pingree is challenged by Republican candidate Edwin Thelander — a retired Navy SEAL who raised more than $245,000 before the primaries.

Thelander said earlier this year he is running for Congress because he feels Democratic policies have failed the average American.

“We have to fix things”, Thelander written in a statement. “Under the current Congress, America is plummeting toward economic disaster.”