ELLSWORTH — Mainers elected Governor Paul LePage to a second four-year term Tuesday, choosing him over Democratic challenger Mike Michaud by more than four percentage points statewide.
Hancock County voters also favored LePage, but by the narrowest of margins: one vote. Within the county, 11,998 voters picked LePage and 11,997 went with Michaud.
Independent Eliot Cutler was a distant third both statewide and locally, polling at about 8.4 percent statewide and 9 percent of the vote (2,266) in Hancock County communities.
Overall, Tuesday was a good night to be a Republican in Maine. And being an incumbent didn’t hurt, either. Hancock County tended to give stronger support to Democratic candidates than what was reported statewide, but generally mirrored the trend of favoring Republicans.
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was re-elected to a fourth term in Washington, D.C., defeating Democrat Shenna Bellows. Statewide media outlets reported Collins with about 68 percent of the vote and Bellows with 32 percent.
In Hancock County, Collins still finished well ahead of Bellows, but by a slightly narrower margin. Collins received 16,389 votes locally (63 percent) to 9,610 for Bellows (37 percent). Bellows was likely helped locally by the fact she is a Hancock native.
Bellows failed to win in Hancock, however (losing to Collins 689-378), and within the county only edged out Collins in Bar Harbor (by 25 votes, 1,292 to 1,267).
Hancock County voters bucked the trend in the Second Congressional District race, which saw Republican Bruce Poliquin defeat Democrat Emily Cain and independent Blaine Richardson.
Around the district, which covers almost 80 percent of the state, Poliquin received 47 percent of the vote to Cain’s 42 percent. Richardson, a conservative independent, received about 11 percent.
Hancock County voters favored Cain, however, giving her 50 percent of the vote locally (12,423) to Poliquin’s 40 percent (9,969). Richardson received 2,605 votes in Hancock County, for 10 percent of the vote.
Republican State Senate candidates also fared well Tuesday night. Both Brian Langley (of District 7, representing most of Hancock County) and David Burns (of District 6, representing Washington County and part of eastern Hancock County) were headed for re-election, and Bucksport’s Kimberley Rosen was ahead of Democrat Paul Davis in District 8, covering part of Penobscot County and towns in western Hancock County.
As of early Wednesday morning, the Bangor Daily News was reporting Republicans might gain a majority over Democrats, who currently hold control of the State Senate Chamber.
Voter turnout averaged 61 percent around the county, with 26,541 out of 43,486 registered voters casting ballots. That exceeded the statewide average of 55 percent reported by the Bangor paper.
The high point in Hancock County was Great Pond, where 36 out of 39 registered voters went to the polls (92 percent). Osborn came in second with 70 percent participation (190 out of 273 voters).
The low point was in Castine, where voter turnout was 43 percent (453 out of 1,045 voters). That number may have been affected by seasonal residents, some of whom have already headed to warmer climes for the winter months.
The successful Republican trend continued at the county level, too, where William Blaisdell IV won over Democrat Valerie Chiasson for judge of probate by 10 percent, 55 percent to 45 percent (a difference of about 3,700 votes).
Republican Matt Foster also garnered more votes than Democrat Bill Entwisle for the position of district attorney of Hancock and Washington counties. Though some results were not yet in from Washington County towns Wednesday morning, Foster’s margin over Entwisle was large enough that his lead was not in danger.
Republican incumbent Percy “Joe” Brown, of Deer Isle, was re-elected as county commissioner from District 2 over Democratic challenger Mike Sealander.
Three Republicans who were running unopposed also were elected to county office Tuesday — Janice Eldridge as treasurer, Julie Curtis as register of deeds and Scott Kane as sheriff.
Eldridge and Curtis were incumbents, while Kane will succeed current Sheriff Bill Clark who decided not to seek re-election this year.
The results in Maine mirrored a national trend, which according to national media reports saw Republicans gain at least seven seats in the U.S Senate — enough to give them a majority there. USA Today said Republicans in the House “appeared headed to their biggest majority in decades.”
Poliquin’s win was part of that red tide, as he captured a seat that had been held by Michaud for the past 12 years. Fellow Democrat John Baldacci had held the seat for eight years before that. Poliquin’s win returned the seat to Republicans for the first time in two decades, since it was held by Olympia Snowe, who preceded Baldacci.
LePage also was part of a national trend of Republican governors and gubernatorial candidates faring well on Tuesday, too. Other Republican winners, according to USA Today and other national media outlets, included Rick Scott in Florida, Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Sam Brownback in Kansas, Greg Abbott in Texas, Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Nathan Deal in Gerogia and Asa Hutchinson in Arkansas.
In Maryland, Republican Larry Hogan won in an upset USA Today called “startling” and ABC News called “major.”
Democrat gubernatorial incumbents Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown won re-election as expected in New York and California, respectively. One surprise came in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Tom Wolf defeated Republican incumbent Tom Corbett.