MDI results skew ‘blue’: Marijuana, gun checks, wage hike supported



BAR HARBOR — A majority of voters in Mount Desert Island area towns undoubtedly woke up with political hangovers on Wednesday as their overwhelming support of Hillary Clinton for president and Emily Cain for U.S. representative failed to help propel those candidates to victory.

While Clinton won in Maine, turning the state “blue,” or Democratic, on most election maps, she lost nationally, and Cain (D-Orono), in her second matchup against incumbent Republican Bruce Poliquin, also lost.

In races for the Maine Legislature, incumbent Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor) easily won re-election over two-time challenger Joseph Marshall of Lamoine. Hubbell’s total for the three towns in the district, which covers Bar Harbor, Mount Desert and Lamoine, was 3,966, compared to Marshall’s total of 1,605.

See a table of full area results on page 6.

“I am grateful for the confidence that voters in this district have placed in me to represent this district for another term,” Hubbell said in a statement on Wednesday. “Encouraged by the many thoughtful concerns I’ve heard over this past campaign season, I’m looking forward to the hard work ahead with all my colleagues in Augusta.”

On Wednesday morning, Marshall congratulated Hubbell for his win and praised the Democrat’s “dedication to working for solutions in a bipartisan way.” Marshall said he planned to stay active in the political life of district towns. “See you in two years,” he said.

With only minor exceptions, island towns skewed towards the liberal end of the political spectrum, including traditionally conservative Southwest Harbor and Tremont.

Voters in Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont and Trenton backed Clinton with a total of 4,682, compared to 2,278 for Donald Trump.

Clinton got 2,244 in Bar Harbor, 917 in Mount Desert, 646 in Southwest Harbor, 477 in Tremont and 398 in Trenton.

Trump received 712 votes in Bar Harbor, along with 389 in Mount Desert, 400 in Southwest Harbor, 381 in Tremont and 396 in Trenton – just two votes behind Clinton there. Trump was behind in statewide totals but ahead in the 2nd Congressional District. Of Maine’s four electoral college votes, two go to the overall winner and one each to the winner in the two congressional districts. Trump won in the 2nd Congressional District, winning him one electoral vote to three for Clinton.

In the MDI area, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson got a total of 277, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein received 128.

Congress

In the race for U.S. representative, Poliquin lagged behind on Mount Desert Island despite his win in the district.

Two-time challenger Emily Cain (D-Orono) was favored on MDI by a total of 4,559 to 2,837.

State senate

In the race for Hancock County’s primary state senate seat, incumbent Sen. Brian Langley won re-election, although opponent Moira O’Neill (D-Surry) enjoyed comfortable margins on MDI. Her total for Bar Harbor, Mount Desert, Southwest Harbor, Tremont and Trenton was 3,869. Langley’s MDI total was 3,326.

Referenda

On the referendum issues, voters in MDI towns reporting Tuesday night supported legalizing marijuana by a total of 4,191 to 3,313.

A tax surcharge for education enjoyed a plurality island-wide but was disfavored in Trenton. The final area total was 4,107 yes to 3,366 no.

Question 3, which would extend background checks to private gun sales, enjoyed wide support, winning in all island towns reporting Tuesday evening by a total of 4,730 to 2,973, but again not winning a majority in Trenton.

Increasing the minimum wage was popular in all area towns by a total of 4,794 to 2,706.

Question 5, which would introduce ranked-choice voting to Maine, was favored in Bar Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Tremont, although it failed to find favor in Trenton. The total was 4,421 yes to 2,877 no.

And, as in most elections, a bond issue to fund transportation infrastructure improvements was widely backed by a total area vote of 5,407 yes to 1,934 no.

Statewide, the legalization of marijuana seemed to have a slight edge, school funding also was slightly ahead, and more stringent background checks for gun purchases appeared to be going down to defeat. Raising the minimum wage seemed close to passage and ranked-choice voting was ahead statewide.

The transportation bond enjoyed widespread support across the state.

Total turnout in Bar Harbor was 72 percent of registered voters. According to Town Clerk Pat Gray, the total number of ballots cast, 3,217, broke the town’s previous record, set in 2008, by just eight votes.

The highest turnout in the MDI area was 79 percent on Swans Island. On Frenchboro and in Trenton, 78 percent of voters turned out, while 77 percent participated in Tremont. The Cranberry Isles turnout was 76 percent, and in Mount Desert, it was 74 percent. Southwest Harbor had 66 percent participation.

Updated on Nov. 9 at 10:39 a.m.

Earl Brechlin

Earl Brechlin

Editor at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander editor Earl Brechlin first discovered Mount Desert Island 35 years ago and never left. The author of seven guide and casual history books, he is a Registered Maine Guide and has served as president of the Maine and New England Press Associations. He and his wife live in Bar Harbor.

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