2012 elections preview: Maine voters to select winners in congressional, legislative primaries
With primary season in full swing across the country, Maine voters go to the polls tomorrow to make their choices known.
Here's what to watch for in Maine, where polling places open at different times depending on population - municipalities with a population less than 500 open between 6 AM and 10 AM while municipalities with a population of 500 or more open between 6 AM and 8AM. All polls close at 8 PM.
|Contested Primaries in Maine -- June 12, 2012|
| U.S. House
| State Legislature |
|Total Democratic Contested Primaries||0 (0%)||24 (12.77%)|
|Total Republican Contested Primaries||2 (100%)||18 (9.57%)|
In a competitive race for Senate, 4 Democratic candidates and 6 Republican candidates have filed to run in the primary election to decide who will advance to the general election to fill the open seat created by the retirement of Republican incumbent Olympia Snowe. First elected in 1994, Snowe cited excessive partisanship as a reason why she did not seek re-election..
In addition to the major party candidates, three Independent candidates, including former Governor Angus King, will run in the general election. As of March 22, the race frontrunner was Independent candidate King, who has yet to declare a party affiliation. The Cook Political Report is leaving the the race rating for the open Senate seat as a Tossup. 
Despite initial reports that House incumbents Chellie Pingree (D) and Mike Michaud (D) will run for Snowe's Senate seat, both decided to run for re-election in their congressional districts. Former Governor John Baldacci was another candidate to initially express interest, but later withdrawing from the race.
On the Democratic ticket, candidates include Benjamin Pollard, former Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, state senator Cynthia Dill, and state representative Jon Hinck are running for the nomination. In the Republican primary, candidates Scott D'Amboise, former President of Maine State Senate Richard Bennett, current Maine Secretary of State Charles Summers, state senator Debra Plowman, Maine Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, and Maine Attorney General William Schneider are running for the nomination.
Maine has a total of 2 seats on the ballot in 2012. A total of 6 candidates have filed to run, made up of only 4 Republican challengers, and 2 Democratic incumbents. A total of 228 U.S. House seats have held primaries. Thus far, 62.94% of possible primaries have been contested. Maine's contested figure of 50.00% (2 out of 4 possible party primaries) is less competitive than the national average.
In the 2 congressional districts, there are only Republican races contested, with two or more candidates running. The Democratic incumbents, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud are both running unopposed in their primaries.
In the 1st district, incumbent Chellie Pingree is running unopposed in the Democratic primary. On the Republican ticket, candidates Patrick Calder and current Maine State Senate majority leader Jonathan Courtney will battle for the nomination to advance to the general election to take on Pingree.
In the 2nd district, Republican candidates Blaine Richardson and current Maine State Senate President Kevin Raye will face off to determine who will face incumbent Mike Michaud (D) in the general election.
|Members of the U.S. House from Maine -- Partisan Breakdown|
|Party||As of November 2012||After the 2012 Election|
There are 24 (12.77%) contested Democratic primaries and 18 (9.57%) contested Republican primaries. Thus, there will be 42 races tomorrow with at least two candidates on the ballot. The 11.17% figure of total contested primaries in Maine is lower than the current national contested average of 22.84% for states that have had filing deadlines.
A total of 13 incumbents - 7 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 Independent - did not run for re-election in 2012. Ten of these - 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans - could not run due to term limits. None of the incumbents running face a primary challenge.
Republicans currently control the chamber by a margin of 20-14-1.
Four primaries include current House incumbents. They are as follows:
- District 5: Incumbent Sen. Barry Hobbins (D) is term limited and could not seek re-election. The Democratic nomination will go to either Donald Pilon or Linda Valentino, both of whom currently serve in the House of Representatives and are term-limited.
- District 6: Incumbent Sen. Philip Bartlett (D) is term limited and could not seek re-election. The fight for the Democratic nod is between term-limited House District 126 incumbent Timothy Driscoll and newcomer James Boyle.
- District 7: Incumbent Sen. Cynthia Dill (D), who is not term-limited, is seeking election to the U.S. Senate. The Democratic primary will take place between House District 124 incumbent Bryan Kaenrath and Rebecca Millett.
- District 29: Incumbent Sen. Kevin Raye (R) is term-limited and seeking election to the U.S. House. The Republican primary is between House District 32 incumbent David C. Burns and Kathleen Caso.
A total of 46 incumbents - 21 Democrats, 24 Republicans and 1 Independent - did not run for re-election in 2012. Twenty-six of these - 14 Democrats and 12 Republicans - could not run due to term limits.
Republicans currently control the chamber by a narrow seven-seat margin.
Of the incumbents running, only five face a primary challenge. They are as follows:
- District 20: Incumbent David Johnson faces John Williams
- District 37: Incumbent Ralph Chapman faces James Schatz
- District 135: Incumbent Paulette Beaudoin faces Joanne Twomey
- District 136: Incumbent Megan Rochelo faces Bobby Mills
- District 137: Incumbent Alan Casavant faces Nancy Sullivan
|Maine State Senate|
|Party||As of November 5, 2012||After the 2012 Election|
|Maine House of Representatives|
|Party||As of November 5, 2012||After the 2012 Election|
|Propositions •||Recall||• Law|
- United States House of Representatives elections in Maine, 2012
- United States Senate elections in Maine, 2012
- Maine State Senate elections, 2012
- Maine House of Representatives elections, 2012
- ↑ Maine State Government, "Elections FAQ," accessed June 8, 2012
- ↑ The Washington Post "Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe to retire in blow to GOP" Accessed February 29, 2012
- ↑ Governing "2 Maine Pols Bow Out of Race for Snowe's U.S. Senate Seat" Accessed March 12, 2012
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Cook Political Report "2012 SENATE RACE RATINGS," March 22, 2012