9/27/18, Maine First Media Staff Report,
Everything You Need to Know About Maine’s 2018 Legislative Races
On November 6th, voters will venture to the polls and shape the future of our state.
While most of the attention in the Fake News outlets and during commercial breaks between your favorite television programs focus on the Bid for the Blaine House and federal races — arguably the most important votes will be cast by residents in select legislative races.
To be sure, the gubernatorial, U.S. Senate and both congressional races are important. But votes cast for State Representatives and State Senators will determine the direction of the Coliseum on the Kennebec. These are the people who will be voting on the laws of Maine. They will dictate how your tax dollars are spent.
Currently, Democrats hold a small, but solid lead in the State House with an edge of 73-70. However, the majority of third-party representatives vote consistently with the donkeys.
Meanwhile, the State Senate is run by Republicans — or, more accurately, RINOs. Republicans hold just a single-seat advantage over their Democrat counterparts.
The Senate GOP caucus has proven inept at almost every opportunity. In fact, Republican Senate leadership jumped on nearly every chance to work with or fold to Speaker of the Swamp, Sara Gideon (D-Freeport).
Providing common-sense Mainers with a glimmer of hope for the State Senate is the fact that the old-guard GOP leadership is virtually all gone.
RINO-in-Chief, Michael Thibodeau is termed out. The embattled Andre Cushing is focused on county politics. And Garrett Mason is now working for a PAC following his failed gubernatorial bid.
Also gone is liberty-minded Republican Eric Brakey, who is challenging Sen. Angus King for a U.S. Senate seat.
In the House, Republicans have an opportunity to potentially take control. However, unless Trump supporters come out in force, that will be an uphill battle this cycle. The primary goal might be to keep it close for 2020 — while keeping enough votes intact to give Shawn Moody a margin to sustain vetoes should he be elected Maine’s next governor.
Remember, the only thing keeping Maine policy somewhat sane in recent years has been the combination of Gov. Paul LePage’s vetoes and enough House Republicans to vote to sustain those vetos.
It’s important to note, about 30,000 more Democrats voted in the June primaries than did Republicans. However, Democrats had many more candidates in competitive primaries, all utilizing “get out the vote” efforts.
And the D’s do have nearly a 60,000 voter registration advantage over the R’s. But the plurality of Maine voters are unenrolled, many of whom are rural conservatives.
With so much at stake, this week, Maine First Media is looking at some of the more hotly contested legislative races in the 2018 Midterms.
We’ll start in the Senate.
Senate District 7: Coastal Hancock County
Arguably one of the biggest RINOs in Maine, Sen. Brian Langley is termed out of office — leading to a battle of two current House members.
Democrats have put up Louis Luchini to counter Republican Richard Malaby.
It should make for an interesting and competitive matchup, as both Luchini and Malaby are popular in their respective House districts.
Langley won in 2016 by about 12-points, which equates to less than 3,000 votes. Langley increased his margin of victory in each election cycle since 2012, showing what could be a positive trend in the district for Republicans.
With tourism and fishing as the leading industries in the district, there are many self-employed voters — this could give Malaby a slight advantage.
Senate District 8: East of Bangor, From Lincoln to Castine
Incumbent RINO Senator, Kim Rosen should be safe in her bid for a third term.
In 2016, Rossen ran unopposed. In 2014, she won by almost 12-points. Additionally, the many rural towns comprising the 8th district are conservative by nature.
However, Rosen’s swampy record could be catching up to her.
And the word in the district is, Democrat Beverly Uhlenhake is working hard on her ground game and making strides.
Rosen will likely retain her seat, but this race could be closer than it has any right to be. Hopefully, the GOP will learn and recruit someone more befitting the district make-up for 2020.
Senate District 9: Bangor/Herman
This Bangor seat should be pretty safe for incumbent Leftist Geoffrey Gratwick.
However, Energy Expert Jim LaBrecque is making things interesting.
Having worked closely with Gov. Paul LePage for many years, and being a constant target of Fake News attacks, LaBrecque has far more name recognition than the typical first-time challenger.
Unlike traditional GOP candidates, LaBrecque is not focusing solely on a campaign about taxes and jobs. Instead, he’s focused on draining the swamp of Augusta and lowering energy bills for his constituents.
It’s a winning message, but it will be an uphill battle to upset Gratwick this cycle.
If he’s able to knock-off the swampy Gratwick, LaBrecque will jump to the top of the list ( a VERY short list) of Maine-first Senators.
Senate District 11: Waldo County
Say so-long to termed-out Senate President Michael Thibodeau — and say hello to Senator Erin Herbig?
This is one of the Democrats prime pick-up opportunities in the Senate this cycle.
Thibodeau really shouldn’t have been in leadership, considering he barely won his district. Thibodeau only won in 2016 by 3.5-points — or about 800 votes.
In 2014 Thibodeau won by a whisker after a recount in a year when a red wave swept the state and the country. His re-election in 2016 was a ride on Donald Trump’s coattails.
Enter Democrat Rep. Erin Herbig of Belfast. Herbig is one of the most radical Leftists in the State House and had aided and abetted Swamp Speaker Gideon as Majority Leader. However, she runs in her town of Belfast as business-friendly — she’s not.
Herbig has been winning landslides since she started running.
The Representative from Belfast before Herbig won the open seat in 2010, was Herbig’s 2018 opponent, Republican Jayne Crosby Giles.
In 2008, Giles won re-election by only about 750 votes. A far cry from Herbig’s margin of victories.
There are reasons to believe Belfast will come out in force for Herbig and give Democrats a pick-up.
Senate District 13: Lincoln County
Incumbent Republican Sen. Dana Dow has a difficult challenge in Democrat Laura Fortman.
Fortman is a former executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby. And she’s “earned” the endorsement of former President Barack Obama.
Dow knocked off the former incumbent in 2016, and if he plays his cards right, he should be able to use the Obama endorsement against Fortman in this rural district and retain his seat.
Senate District 14: Kennebec County
This race is turning into one of the biggest prizes of the 2018 Midterms.
On one side, you have a looney Leftist in incumbent Democrat Shenna Bellows. On the other side, you have a Maine-first conservative challenger in Matt Stone.
Stone presents a different type of challenger than Democrats are used to. He talks about issues that resonate with Mainers, instead of the tired policies local Republicans have beat to death for the past 30-40 years.
And the standard attack from the Left, “he’s a bigot,” is difficult to stick to Stone. Stone is a young, gay man.
He also encourages Maine families to ditch banks and join local credit unions. So, the old line of “being in the pockets of the Big Business and the banks” doesn’t fly.
However, the argument could be made that Bellows could be in the pocket of Leftist special interests. Out-of-State dark money from groups like Emily’s List and national education union bosses is flooding into the district to help protect Bellows.
Stone is working hard and surging. He’s still the underdog at this point — but the one-time Democrat sacrificial lamb fed to Susan Collins, Bellows isn’t familiar with competitive contests.
This race has the makings of a potential surprise on the evening of November 6th. If he’s able to unseat the radical Bellows, Stone would be arguably the most Maine-first Senator in the body.
A two-man caucus of Stone and LaBrecque — should both candidates pull off the upsets — would be a huge step in the right direction for the upper chamber, even if the GOP loses control of the body.
Senate District 20: Androscoggin County
Androscoggin County should be sending a strong conservative to try and keep the seat red in Eric Brakey’s absence.
Instead, we have the Battle of Bad Choices.
The Democrats are putting up a typical Leftist. Retired-physician Ned Claxton is popular in the district’s largest city — Auburn.
The Republicans are putting up current House Assistant Minority Leader Ellie Espling.
Espling is soaked in swamp water. And she’s even sold out Mainers in order to raise money from lobbyists for this race.
With the feckless nature of the Senate GOP caucus, and with such a bad choice here, the best bet may be for Claxton to win, so Brakey can come take the seat back — since he realistically won’t be serving us in D.C. come 2020.
Senate District 25: Outside of Portland/Cumberland
This is a sleeper race.
Incumbent Democrat Catherine Breen will likely retain this Southern Maine seat.
However, Republican Challenger Cathy Nichols is a popular figure in the area and word in the district is she’s grinding hard to gain supporters.
Nichols has a manufacturing background the district is desperate for. And while 2018 may be too much for her to bite off, she could be laying some great groundwork to flip the seat in 2020 — and has the potential to give Breen a bit of a scare on election night.
Senate District 30: Scarborough/Gorhman
Here we have “the last man (or woman) standing” in Senate GOP leadership — Sen. Amy Volk. Volk may not be a down-the-line conservative, but she’s more of a fighter than anyone else in Senate GOP leadership.
And now she’s facing a serious challenge.
Volk won easily 2016, but this November she faces Rep. Linda Sanborn of Gorham. Sandborn has a ton of name recognition following eight years in the swamp as a Representative.
This Southern Maine district is a truly purple district, making it a wildcard on election night.
Volk should be able to pull out the victory, but Sanborn may make this closer than anyone in the GOP would like to see.
Moving to the House, several competitive contests could change the makeup of the 151 member body.
House District 5: Berwick/North Berwick
Republican Rep. Beth O’Connor is one of the most Maine-first members of the entire State House.
Unfortunately, she lives in a swing district. The Berwick seat seems to flow strongly with the national mood in politics.
In 2010, Rep. O’Connor rode the red wave to a 15-point victory. However, the next cycle, during Barack Obama’s re-election, she was up-ended by Democrat Joshua Plante, losing by 3-points.
O’Connor would go on to take the seat back during the 2014 Midterms, which once again favored Republicans nationwide. And in 2016, she disposed of Plante by just 4-points — less than 200 votes separated the two.
Now O’Connor has a new challenger Charles Galemmo.
O’Connor should be able to win re-election, but Democrats would love to get rid of her out-spoken conservative presence at the Swamp of Augusta. It would be a massive loss to the Maine First Movement if O’Connor were to lose this November.
House District 9: Kennebunk/Kennebunkport
In 2014 and 2016 Democrat Diane Denk lost to Republican Rep. Stedman Seavey in very close races. In fact, in 2016, the margin was a mere 91 votes.
Denk is running again in 2018, but not against Stedman Seavey. In Stedman’s — well, sted — is his brother Roger Seavey.
This York County seat is home to many low-income liberals and country-club Republicans — making the district a true toss-up.
House District 10: Arundel/Dayton
In another York County seat, incumbent Republican Rep.Wayne Parry is on his way out, giving Democrats another pickup opportunity to extend their lead in the chamber.
The Republican vying for the open seat is James Booth, who has lost two competitive State Senate races in the district.
Booth is up against newcomer Henry Ingwersen. But Henry isn’t a political unknown in the district. In 2016, Emily Ingwersen lost to Rep. Parry in a landslide.
This open-seat contest could be close, but all things being equal, the advantage goes to Booth to carry the district for the GOP.
House District 19: Sanford
It’s been a topsy-turvy ride for incumbent Republican Rep. Matthew Harrington.
The police officer ran for the seat in 2014 but lost to then-incumbent Democrat William Noon by about 4-points. The following year, Harrington won a special election for the vacated seat, by just 13-votes! Last cycle, Harrington had his best showing, winning re-election by about 2.5-points.
That is a definite trend in the right direction for Harrington. From a clear loss just four years ago to a dead-heat win in a special, to a close victory in 2016.
However, Harrington’s opponent, Democrat Jeremy Mele received more primary votes than Harrington.
Both the elephant and the donkey in this race ran unopposed in their respective primaries. Mele’s edge could signal a voter enthusiasm advantage for Democrats in the district.
Harrington seems like the frontrunner to retain at this point, but it could be interesting to see what news comes out of this district between now and election day.
House District 44: Falmouth
This Falmouth district is interesting. In 2014, Democrat incumbent Rep. Teresa Pierce only escaped with the victory by about 3-points.
However, in 2016, Pierce extended her margin of victory to 15-points.
Enter Republican challenger, Sarah Sandlin — a young, energetic, conservative female with a passion for Maine.
Word in the district is that Sandlin is working hard to introduce herself to voters. However, she’s up against voter registration and name recognition disadvantages.
While Pierce is the frontrunner to retain the seat, Sandlin could be laying the groundwork for a successful second bid in 2020.
House District 55: Bowdoin/Bowdoinham
Now we’ve reached perhaps the most hotly contested contest in the House.
Extreme Leftist incumbent Democrat, Rep. Seth Berry is going one-on-one with liberty-minded Republican Guy Lebida.
The far-Left Berry has done a good job convincing the district he’s a moderate problem solver — he’s not. But his tactics have led to Berry’s stranglehold over the district for the past decade.
After being termed out of office, Berry relinquished the seat in 2014. Republican Brian Hobart won the seat with ease that year.
Fast forward to 2016, Berry was back and defeated the then-incumbent by a solid 8-points.
Berry has had a controversial 2017-2018 legislative session. And Lebida has outraised Berry and has a dedicated ground team working hard to get him elected.
This is anyone’s race; a GOP pickup is a definite possibility here.
House District 58: Lewiston
Lewiston/Auburn is fertile ground for Maine-first candidates — which could spell trouble for incumbent Democrat Rep. James Handy.
Handy only won the seat in 2016 by 106 votes. He’s vulnerable in a district that has felt the burn of forced diversity and the Refugee Resettlement Racket first-hand.
However, it doesn’t appear Republican challenger Denise Hurilla has much interest in tackling the issues the voters in the district care about.
Handy could be one of the best pick-off opportunities for the GOP, but unfortunately, this looks like it could be a missed opportunity.
House District 61: Lewiston
Now, this is a House seat where the Republican challenger is making the most of his opportunity.
Maine-first candidate, Republican Mike LaChance has been a fixture as the “token” conservative in Lewiston politics for many years. He’s built up excellent name recognition, has tremendous experience, has a winning message, is right on the issues and is working hard to win.
If he were running against Handy, we’d be confidently predicting a pick-up for the GOP.
However, he’s running against incumbent Democrat Heidi Brooks, who isn’t quite as vulnerable as Handy. Brooks won by about 8-points in 2014 and nearly 25-points in 2016.
However, Brooks hasn’t faced a challenger like LaChance before, and the district is changing under her feet as blowback from open-border over-reach.
Muddying the waters, the race also features a Green Party candidate and a former Republican State House candidate turned independent — making this a real wildcard race.
House District 66: Casco/Poland/Raymond
Only 101 votes separated Freshman Democrat Rep. Jessica Fay and then-incumbent Republican Mike McClellan in 2016.
This year, Fay will face Republican Gregory Foster of Raymond.
Fay, who is a Leftist running like a moderate, has only had two years to build up name recognition. Meanwhile, more Republicans voted in the dual-unopposed primaries than Democrats.
Those factors combined to make the 66th House district a prime pick-up opportunity for the GOP.
House District 69: Bridgton/Denmark/Harrison
But just as quickly as the elephants get an opportunity — they could lose a seat right back here.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Phyllis Ginzler is not seeking re-election.
Last election cycle, she only beat independent Walter Riseman by 136 votes.
Riseman is running again — this time with more name recognition and experience running a campaign.
That leaves newcomer Republican Tony Lorrain of Harrison at a bit of a disadvantage in a very swing district.
House District 74: Jay/Livermore Falls
Maine’s 74th House district was home to one of the closest elections in 2016.
Incumbent Democrat Rep. Tina Riley beat her Republican opponent by only 57 votes.
Riley will now take on Republican Robert Staples for the rights to this Franklin County seat.
Jay was hit hard by the closing of paper mills. This is a community that could use a return of manufacturing. If Staples plays his cards right, we could see this seat flip on election night.
House District 75: Leads/Turner
Incumbent Republican Rep. Jeff Timberlake is running for the State Senate — leaving his seat open.
The Democrats have put up former State Representative and State Senator John Nutting. Nutting had been running for office on-and-off since 1986, giving him a decent amount of name recognition.
Meantime, Republican Joshua Morris won a tough three-way primary with about 51% of the vote. He’s tested and has been actively campaigning longer this cycle.
Timberlake won in 2016 in a landslide.
This is another wildcard race.
House District 86: Augusta
From unopposed in 2016 to hotly contested in 2018.
Last cycle, incumbent RINO Rep. Matt Pouliot didn’t even have a challenger. But Pouliot is now running for the State Senate.
The home district of the Swamp, there are lots of state union workers, helping the cause of Democrat Jennifer Day.
But Republican Justin Fecteau is running a strong campaign. We hear he’s built a strong ground game.
In 2012, Pouliot defeated the then-incumbent Democrat — during a strong year for donkeys. In 2014, he won in a landslide. But Pouliot ran away from being a Republican, so it remains to be seen if he has any coattails for Fecteau.
The Democrats also had a strong advantage in primary votes.
This district is up-for-grabs.
House District 95: Appleton/Hope/Warren
Maine-first Rep. Paula Sutton is one of the toughest fighters for Draining the Swamp that we have at the Coliseum on the Kennebec.
Reporters near her district want her out — especially Leftist-hack Andy O’Brien of the Free Press, who consistently looks for excuses to attack the Republican from Warren.
Sutton faces the unknown entity of independent William Pluecker and his Candidate Welfare war chest.
Sutton put up a tough fight for the State Senate in 2014, falling just short, but won this House seat in 2016 by about 13-points.
Barring anything unforeseen, we should be seeing the return of Rep. Sutton to the Coliseum in January.
House District 110: Waterville
This Waterville race features a rematch.
Incumbent Democrat Colleen Madigan defeated Republican Mark Andre by 16-points in 2016.
Andre is back again, a more seasoned candidate with higher name recognition than the first time around.
Madigan is likely safe, but Andre is running a smart and strong race, focusing on hyper-local issues. He’s even spearheading an effort to lower the Mill Rate in Waterville, which would lower Property Taxes and help the city become competitive again.
House District 113: Farmington/New Sharon
Farmington is the center of another prime pick-up target for Democrats.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Lance Harvell is not seeking re-election.
The open seat will be contested between Democrat Scott Landry Jr. and Republican Paul Brown.
Landry comes into the race with the knowledge he only lost to Harvell in 2016 by 89 votes.
Meanwhile, to Brown’s advantage, the district has been traditionally red, and more Republicans turned out for the dual-unopposed primaries than Democrats.
Still, the fact that Landry came so close to knocking off the well known Harvell must be troubling for the GOP.
House District 121: Penobscot County
This Penobscot district is almost the exact opposite of district 113.
In this district, it is a Democrat incumbent, Rep. Bob Duchesne, who is leaving the Swamp of Augusta early.
Duchesne squeaked out a victory in 2016 — only 25 votes separated him from his Republican challenger, Gary Drinkwater.
Drinkwater is back and this time will be up against newcomer, Democrat Terri Casavant. There’s also an unenrolled candidate in the race.
Add to that Republicans turned out stronger for the primaries in the district than Democrats did.
The calculations tell us, Drinkwater is the frontrunner to flip this seat.
House District 128: Brewer
One of the Brewer races features a rematch of a competitive contest from 2016.
This time around, the incumbent is freshman Republican Garrel Craig.
Craig will once again face former three-term representative of the district, Archie Verow.
The difference in their 2016 matchup — 55 votes.
Many political insiders credited (or blame, depending on who you ask) Maine First Project’s information piece about Verow’s support for Harboring Havens for Craig’s victory.
However, our understanding is Craig has yet to sign the Maine First Project pledge and no education outreach will be done in the district unless he does.
House District 133: Hancock County
Nancy Colwell put up a valiant effort against incumbent Democrat Ralph Chapman in 2016.
Colwell is back for another bid in 2018, and she’s learned a lot with a full cycle of experience under her belt.
Word on the street in Hancock County is that Colwell has developed an effective ground game and is working hard.
Colwell is up against newcomer Democrat Sarah Pebworth.
Pebworth is well known in this blue-leaning district.
The district voters are slowly starting to wake up to the fact that their votes don’t match their culture and lifestyle.
But only time will tell is the alarm clock rings before November 6th.
House District 137: Hancock County/Penobscot County
Maine State House District 137 is home to Maine-first Champion, Republican Rep. Larry Lockman.
Maine Leftists may not want to hear this, but Lockman is likely pretty safe.
In 2012, he won the district by about 2-points. In 2014, he expanded his margin of victory to about 15-points. And in 2016, he won by about 24-points.
The district loves Lockman. And that makes Portland radicals HATE the people of the district. They’ve said as much in many social media posts.
Democrat Doug Bunker is running against Lockman. Bunker got a pile of Candidate Welfare cash and as much support as he wants from Portland Leftists who’ve been Bunker’s biggest supporters.
Bunker has been campaigning on climate change and is endorsed by the Marxist Pedophile Authority (or so-called Maine People’s Alliance) and Planned Parenthood Maine PAC. Bunker has thanked those radical organizations for their support — proving how out of touch he is with the district.
Meanwhile, Lockman has been campaigning on funding our notorious waitlists of elderly and disabled Mainers.
House District 145: Aroostook County
Democrats in the County are trying hard to get rid of freshman incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Johansen.
Why? Well, to give you an idea of how conservative this Pro-Life, Pro-2nd Amendment veteran is — he was one of only two Representatives to vote against a bad budget bill. Who was the other Representative joining Johansen? Well, the Left’s Most Hated, Rep. Larry Lockman.
Johansen could prove to be a valuable fighter for a Maine-first agenda should he win re-election. Aroostook County Democrats know that — and they’re working hard to remove Johansen before he becomes a fixture of the district.
However, the likable Johansen won in 2016 with nearly 60% of the vote in a three-way race. Making matters worse for Johansen’s Democrat challenger, Laura Farnsworth — the second place finisher wasn’t the Democrat in the race, but an unenrolled candidate.
Add to that, Johansen’s wife, Cindy, has been doing a fantastic job running the Aroostook County Republican and getting the County to vote the way they live.
Johansen should be able to defeat Farnsworth in 2018.
House District 148: Aroostook County
In 2016 David McCrea knocked off then-incumbent Republican Anthony Edgecomb.
However, The County is moving right, under the leadership of County Party Chair Cindy Johansen.
McCrea is popular in the district, winning in 2016 by a solid 8-points. But his voting record in Augusta doesn’t fit with the district. That gives his Republican challenger Katherine Schupbach a fighting chance.
House District 150: Aroostook County
The fact is, Danny Martin is probably safe.
His opponent, Republican Aaron Cyr got a late start as a replacement candidate.
But Martin continues to fall further-and-further out of touch with his district.
Meanwhile, sources in the County tell Maine First Media Cyr is working efficiently and effectively to introduce himself to the voters.
If voters in the 150th turn out in droves to support President Donald Trump’s America First agenda, Cyr could pull off the upset.
But even if he falls short, he’s laying fantastic groundwork for a 2020 run. The sand in the hourglass is running low for Martin in Aroostook County.
House District 151: Aroostook County
We close our legislative race breakdown with the Godfather of the Swamp. The man who literally wrote the crooked rulebook for the Coliseum on the Kennebec — John Martin.
Much like Danny Martin, John Martin will likely win re-election in 2018.
Republican challenger Kevin Bushey could give the elder Martin a run for his money. Again, the County is shifting beneath the feet of these old guard Democrat swamp creatures.
The 151st Maine House District is fertile territory for a pickup, if not this cycle, then next.
Time could be counting down for the Martin Boys of Aroostook County.