BAR HARBOR — Maine Democrats rode their own statewide blue wave to control of the 35-seat state Senate and 151-seat House Tuesday night. Turnout was very strong in every town in the Islander’s coverage area, exceeding the 2014 midterm elections, with 68 percent of the area’s 12,929 registered voters casting ballots. Clerks also reported a sharp increase in early voting and requests for absentee ballots.
In State Senate District 7, which covers much of Hancock County, Democrat Louie Luchini soundly defeated Republican Richard Malaby.
Luchini, currently a four-term state representative from District 132 and also the cross-country coach for Ellsworth High School, received 13,168 votes. Malaby, who represents District 136 in the Maine House and is the owner of the Crocker House Inn and restaurant in Hancock, received 7,463.
Democrat Brian Hubbell of Bar Harbor was elected to his fourth two-year term in the Maine House of Representatives in voting Tuesday, defeating Republican Maurice “Joe” Marshall of Lamoine 3,849-1,296.
Hubbell represents House District 135, which includes Bar Harbor, Lamoine and Mount Desert. He outpolled Marshall in all three towns, winning 2,382-526 in Bar Harbor, 511-453 in Lamoine and 956-317 in Mount Desert.
In the 2017-2018 legislative session, Hubbell served on the Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs.
Democrat Nicole Grohoski was elected in District 132, representing Ellsworth and Trenton. Grohoski, a cartographer, received 2,377 votes to Republican challenger Mark Remick’s 2,013 in the district previously represented by the term-limited Luchini.
Democrat Genevieve McDonald was the winner in District 134, which includes Southwest Harbor, Tremont, the Cranberry Isles, Swan’s Island and Frenchboro (see related story).
Across the county, voter turnout was up, with town managers reporting record numbers of absentee ballots and votes cast.
Southwest Harbor had the highest turnout with 80 percent of registered voters casting ballots, followed by the Cranberry Isles and Frenchboro, which both reported 73 percent participation. Tremont reported 71 percent turnout, Mount Desert reached 68 percent, Bar Harbor 65 percent and Swan’s Island 66 percent.
“Our town clerk has been here for 40 years and does not recall every receiving more absentee requests than this year,” said Sullivan Town Manager Rob Eaton.
In Hancock, Town Manager Toni Dyer stated this was a “56 percent increase in absentee ballots submitted compared to the last four elections.”