Local election results reveal independent mindset Downeast

Local election results reveal independent mindset Downeast

by Sarah Craighead Dedmon


Ballots cast in one of the most anticipated midterm elections in recent decades are still being counted around Maine, but local races are now safe to call with 75 percent of Washington County’s votes tabulated. From the central to eastern Washington County, voters elected a mix of Republicans and Democrats and often parted ways with the rest of Maine on statewide questions and candidates bound for Washington.


In Calais, returning City Councilors Artie Mingo and Eddie Moreside will be reclaiming their seats for the next two years. Mingo received 850 votes and Moreside received 532. Challenger Jarod Farn-Guillette received 378. James MacDonald’s seat on the School Committee was uncontested and he will continue to serve in that capacity as a result.


House District 138 is sending Rep. Robert Alley (D-Beals) back to Augusta next year. He defeated Republican challenger Kimberley Robinson 1344 to 1004 votes as of Friday midday.


House District 139 has also endorsed their incumbent. Rep. Will Tuell (R-E. Machias) won over Democratic challenger Lisa Hanscom of Roque Bluffs 1,828 votes to 599.


On the eastern edge of the county, Democratic incumbent Anne Perry (D-Calais) will return to Augusta after defeating Republican challenger Arthur Carter 1,441 to 869.


Rural district 141, which straddles Washington and Penobscot counties, has elected to send political newcomer Kathy Javner to Augusta. Republican Javner defeated Democratic challenger Don Green by a vote of 1,932 to 752 with 19 of 23 precincts reporting.


Senate District 6 has a new face in Republican Marianne Moore, who defeated Democratic challenger Christina Therrien and will replace Republican Joyce Maker, who stepped down from the seat effective 2019.


It appears that incumbent Republican District Attorney Matthew Foster will hold onto his seat with 54 percent of the vote across Prosecutorial District 7, which spans Washington and Hancock Counties. Independent challenger Steven Juskewitch holds 46 percent of the vote with 71 out of 86 precincts reporting.


Here in Washington County Foster fared slightly better than across all of PD7, with 60 percent of the vote and 40 percent going to Juskewitch.


Republican John Crowley will be holding his seat as a county commissioner, having defeated Independent challenger Michael Hinerman by a percentage of 69 to 31.


Ballot Questions


Question 1 asked voters to approve a tax increase to cover home based healthcare for the disabled and elderly. It met with controversy in the media when it was revealed that the $129,000 earning threshold applied not just to individuals, but to joint filers too, putting a larger swath of the state’s population into the taxable earning range.


The state defeated the measure by a percentage of 62 to 38, but Washington County went slightly easier on the measure, still defeating it but with a percentage of 59 to 41.


Question two asked voters to approve a bond that would fund improvements to wastewater treatment facilities and to address water quality. Here in Washington County where only a small percentage of the population is on a municipal water supply, the vote went 53 to 47 percent against. Statewide the measure passed 55 to 45 in favor.


Question three asked voters to approve a transportation infrastructure bond. In a region famous for its frost heaves and crumbling main roads, Downeast voters approved the bond 65-35, and the bond also passed at the state level even more enthusiastically by a percentage of 68-32.


Question four was of particular significance to Washington County as it offered voters a chance to approve bond funds to restore infrastructure on U Maine campuses and earmarked more than $3 million in funds directly to the University of Maine at Machias. The question passed here by a slim margin of 51-49, and statewide 55-45.


Question five asked voters to approve funds to renovate Maine’s community college system, and was approved Downeast by a vote of 62-38 and statewide by a vote of 65-35.


State and Federal


State Attorney General Janet Mills won the Blaine House by a comfortable statewide margin of 8 points, defeating Republican challenger Shawn Moody by a percentage of 52-42, with Independent candidate Teresa Hayes taking 6 percent of the vote.


However, Moody was the clear winner Downeast with a winning percentage of 51 to Mills’ 43.


The contentious race for Maine’s second congressional district has gone to be tabulated using Ranked Choice methodology as neither Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin or Democratic challenger Jared Golden received more than 50 percent of the vote.


Incumbent Independent Senator Angus King held his seat with ease across the state, defeating Republican challenger Eric Brakey by a percentage of 55 to 35. However, the race was much tighter Downeast, with only 47 percent going for King, and 44 percent going for Brakey. Democratic hopeful Zak Ringelstein took 8 percent of the vote Downeast and 11 statewide.