Troy R. Bennett | BDN
By Michael Shepherd, BDN Employees •
November eight, 2018 9:00 am
Up to date: November eight, 2018 9:11 am
Good morning from Augusta. Maine is getting into a milestone in its first-in-the-nation experiment with ranked-choice voting, which can apply to the race between U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin and Assistant Home Majority Chief Jared Golden in the 2nd Congressional District.
Secretary of State Matt Dunlap stated Wednesday that the race would proceed to a ranked-choice rely. With almost 92 % of precincts reporting to the Bangor Daily News this morning, Poliquin had 46.1 % of first-round votes to 45.eight % for Golden — a distinction of 702 votes. Simply over eight % of votes went to the left-leaning independents in the race.
Poll assortment throughout the huge district will start at this time and a result’s anticipated next week. However a authorized problem is wanting possible to come if Poliquin’s slender lead is erased after the independents’ vote are re-distributed. Gov. Paul LePage urged that problem at this time.
Right here’s how the ranked-choice course of — and a potential recount — would work. Personal couriers employed by Dunlap’s workplace might be choosing up reminiscence sticks holding poll info and paper ballots from cities that also rely by hand throughout the 2nd District on Thursday.
The processing and tabulation of ballots — at the state campus on Augusta’s east aspect — is scheduled to start on Friday. Tabulation is scheduled to at the least run by means of the weekend and Monday’s Veterans Day vacation till it’s full, which can possible be someday next week.
On Wednesday, Poliquin’s marketing campaign stated that it anticipated him to win in the first round by a margin of 2,100 votes. That would nonetheless portend a decent margin after ranked-choice counting and a recount might come. It might in all probability have to occur earlier than a authorized problem.
That might be a grueling hand-count course of ruled by guidelines from Dunlap’s workplace. Ballots would first be sorted by first-choice votes, which might be counted once more and recorded. Then, the ballots the place neither Poliquin nor Golden have been chosen as first decisions can be counted and recorded and municipal totals can be aggregated.
Dunlap spokeswoman Kristen Muszynski stated since this has by no means occurred in Maine, it’s onerous to understand how lengthy it will take, nevertheless it might be roughly two weeks as a result of of the quantity of cities in the 2nd District and the added degree of element that ranked-choice voting requires.
Golden has stated that he would settle for the outcomes of a ranked-choice election, whereas Poliquin hasn’t answered questions on that. The use of the voting technique hasn’t gone by way of a courtroom check relevant to a basic election but, although the state’s excessive courtroom and a federal courtroom let it proceed in the June primaries.
LePage stated Poliquin ought to problem the election if he wins in the first round, however loses in the ranked-choice rely. The Republican governor urged the Republican incumbent to problem Maine’s ranked-choice voting system in courtroom if a ranked poll retabulation swings the end result to Golden, a Democrat, saying he would win there as a result of ranked-choice voting is unconstitutional.
Courts, nevertheless, haven’t weighed in on that query. An advisory opinion from Maine’s excessive courtroom final yr stated it was unconstitutional for state common elections. It didn’t weigh in on federal elections.
LePage performs pundit on GOP losses
LePage believes extra Democrats have been impressed to vote than Republicans on Election Day. That was partially as a result of Republican Shawn Moody’s marketing campaign — run by many of the governor’s allies and Lauren LePage, the governor’s daughter — “lacked passion, it lacked vigor. One thing I can do is get a crowd going,” he stated.
Plus, Republican voters stayed residence as a result of they have been “totally disgusted” by how Democrats dealt with the affirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom, he stated Thursday morning on WGAN radio. “You’ve got to stand for something,” LePage stated. “I keep trying to tell that to the Republicans. For eight years, they’ve seen me. I’m consistent, I don’t change my ideology.”
In his evaluation of Tuesday’s outcomes, LePage additionally blamed “complacency”and decrease turnout from voters who had backed him. “My reaction is that Republicans and independents stayed home.” he stated. He based mostly his “complacency” remark on the proven fact that “everyone is dumb, fat and happy.” Regardless of early indications that general voter turnout was robust, LePage stated that Moody and Republican legislative candidates failed to encourage independents and Republicans who helped elect him in 2010 and 2014 to get out and vote this yr.
LePage was pretty tame when requested about Governor-elect Janet Mills, with whom he has sparred for years, saying, “I wish her well. I hope she comes to the middle a little bit more and doesn’t spend as heavy as she says she’s going to. If she succeeds, the state of Maine succeeds.”
Mapping Maine’s partisan divide
The trail to victory for Maine’s next governor hugged the coast. This map displaying town-by-town outcomes for Tuesday’s gubernatorial election, during which Mills defeated Moody and unbiased Terry Hayes gives a stark color-coded image of the state’s political cut up character.
Mills claimed strong help from voters in southern coastal communities — principally in the Maine’s extra liberal 1st Congressional District — however she had solely spotty help inland. With a number of exceptions, that help withered in western and northern communities. Moody handily gained in the extra rural cities in western, central and northern Maine. However that help was not sufficient to offset Mills’ distinct benefit alongside the coast.
You’ll be able to scroll round the map to see uncooked vote totals reported by every metropolis or city, or click on right here for full election outcomes. Some precincts — principally the place votes are counted by hand or the place tabulation machines had issues — nonetheless had not reported vote counts as of 7 a.m. Thursday. The BDN will proceed to replace its outcomes web page as these stragglers weigh in. All vote counts are unofficial till licensed by the secretary of state.
Collins: Probe should go on
Maine’s senior senator stated the U.S. lawyer basic’s abrupt departure shouldn’t derail an investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now that Lawyer Basic Jeff Periods has been pressured out by President Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is most involved about the menace his departure poses to the continuance of particular counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference. “Mueller must be allowed to complete his work without interference — regardless of who is AG,” Collins stated in a tweet. “I’m concerned Rod Rosenstein will no longer be overseeing the probe.” Mainers from Portland to Bar Harbor have been anticipated Thursday to be a part of others round the nation in protesting Trump’s choice.
— Maine’s governor-elect — who additionally happens to be the lawyer basic — confirmed up at a courtroom listening to for a lawsuit towards the individual she is going to substitute. Mills, whose workplace declined to characterize LePage and the Division of Well being and Human Providers in a go well with by advocates in search of to drive the state to implement voter-approved Medicaid enlargement, appeared in a Portland courtroom Wednesday morning to pay attention to arguments. Mills reiterated her vow to implement the enlargement as quickly as she takes workplace. The authorized wrangling over enlargement will proceed, maybe into Mills’ tenure as governor.
— In case you are a glutton for punishment — or political rhetoric — have we obtained a deal for you. The BDN’s Seth Koenig collected Tuesday night time’s victory and concession speeches and put them right here. Whip up a batch of popcorn and watch all of them right here.
— Some actually tight county races might go to recounts. Candidates in the county treasurer elections in Penobscot and Waldo counties have been separated by lower than 1 proportion level after most of the ballots have been tabulated. Equally shut races exist for probate decide in Hancock County and in a single race for a seat on the Penobscot County Fee. Pending outcomes from a couple of precincts in some races and consideration by affected candidates, these shut contests might set off recounts.
— A traditionally Republican county took a surprisingly leftward swing on election night time. When Democrat Joe Wombacher unseated four-term Republican incumbent Percy “Joe” Brown for one of three seats on the Hancock County Fee, it gave Democrats what’s believed to be their first-ever majority on the fee.
— Voters in a single Nevada district elected a lifeless pimp to their legislature. Twenty-one days after porn star Ron Jeremy discovered him lifeless at the Love Ranch brothel, Republican Dennis Hof simply gained a seat on the Nevada State Meeting. Learn all about it right here. And here’s a soundtrack.
We should always have seen it coming.
When a Republican misplaced to a Democrat in Tuesday night time’s governor’s race, it continued a Blaine Home-cleaning custom that dates to 1958. Since then, Maine voters have all the time chosen to exchange a departing governor with somebody from a special political celebration — or in two instances with somebody from no political celebration.
In 1954, Democrat Edmund Muskie broke an 18-year Republican maintain on the Blaine Home by profitable the governorship. Since the election of his successor, Clinton Clauson, 4 years later, no Democrat or Republican has been elected to substitute a member of his or her celebration as Maine’s chief government. When Mills takes over for LePage in early January. It can mark one other switchback of Maine’s partisan pendulum.
Maine’s penchant for redecorating its government workplace with a recent social gathering look mirrors that of the nation. U.S. voters additionally exhibit a robust inclination to flip over the keys to a special social gathering each eight years. The final time a member of the similar social gathering succeeded a termed-out member of the similar get together was when Republican George W. Bush gained the proper to substitute Ronald Reagan in 1988. He lasted only one time period. Earlier than that, you’ve got to return to 1928, when Republican Herbert Hoover succeeded Calvin Coolidge. 4 years later, Hoover met the similar destiny as Bush.
So are we fickle or the final, greatest hope for checks and balances in a democratic republic? Right here is your soundtrack. — Robert Lengthy
At present’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Lengthy. In the event you’re studying this on the BDN’s web site or have been forwarded it, click on right here to obtain Maine’s main publication on state politics by way of e-mail on weekday mornings. Click on right here to subscribe to the BDN.
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