Red with anger at Democratic incumbents, Maine voters joined the tide of Americans allying themselves with the GOP. On Tuesday, Republicans took the majority in both of Maine's legislative houses and the governor's office, ousting Democrats after an eight-year stronghold in Augusta.

Republican Paul LePage came out on top as the new governor with 38.3 percent of the vote. Though almost every poll had projected him as the race's leader, he had to fight off a late charge from Independent Eliot Cutler.

Cutler, who as little as a month ago was polling in the single digits, finished with 36.5 percent of the vote. His surge relegated Democrat Libby Mitchell to third place, with 19.1 percent of the vote.

Despite the nationwide rightward trend, incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree earned 56.8 percent of the vote to defeat Republican Dean Scontras and hold on to her seat in the U.S. House representating Maine's first district, which includes Brunswick.

Locally, Bowdoin graduate Democrat Alex Cornell du Houx '08 also retained his post representing Brunswick in the Maine State House. With 38 percent of the vote, he bested competitors Frederick Horch from the Green Party and Republican Jonathan Crimmins.

Mainers gave the nod to all three of the referendum questions. Question 1 passed with just 50.6 percent of the vote and will allow a casino in Oxford County, pending local approval. Question 2 will issue a $5 million bond to increase access to dental care. Question 3 will invest $9.75 million in land conservation and working waterfront and state park preservation.

It was the governor's race, which was not conceded by Cutler until midday Wednesday, that most captured the public's attention. Associate Professor of Government Michael Franz and Professor of Government Christian Potholm attributed Cutler's impressive gains to a skillfully run campaign that was aided by Maine's media.

"No campaign I've seen in 40 years has ever been helped so much by the two newspapers—the Bangor Daily News and the Portland papers [Press Herald]," said Potholm. "They editorialize once but much more showed up in their reporting. "

The election, which Franz described as a "stunning repudiation of Libby Mitchell," reached a turning point about a month ago when LePage announced that, if elected, "you're going to get to see a lot of me on the front page saying, 'Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell.'"

"That was the moment...for the Mitchell campaign to...jump in and get those Republicans and those Independents who had now gone from LePage to undecided," said Potholm. "[The Mitchell] campaign didn't do that."

Franz also explained how the murky and varying methodologies of the different pollsters may have helped bolster Cutler's popularity, and not always on the surest foundation.

"This, to me, is evidence for why there should be more polling," said Franz. "The random poll comes out and the numbers might look different purely because of either the sample size or the methodology or the way of asking the question and then boom—the race is totally different."

"I think the Cutler campaign was very shrewd in the use of their polling," Potholm agreed.

The race proved constructive for those who oppose negative advertising. While both the LePage and Mitchell campaigns decided to sling a little mud, Cutler opted out and capitalized on his characterization as a victim to garner voter sympathy.

"He did have a narrative to say...'I'm doing nothing but staying above the fray and this is exactly what I'm trying to offer to Maine people'," said Franz.

But rough-and-tumble LePage won in the end and senior Kylie Huff has high hopes for his tenure in the Blaine House.

"I wanted to pick someone who I knew would cut taxes and spending... A lot of young people are leaving Maine because there are no opportunities for them," she said. She mentioned a recent Forbes poll that ranked Maine the worst state for business.

"With LePage, I think we're going to start seeing things turning around," she said.

Pingree will keep her job representing Maine's First Congressional District in the U.S. House, but faced a considerable challenge from Republican Dean Scontras. Though she finished with a 14-point victory, some pre-election polls had had the two in a dead heat.

While Scontras painted himself as an independent outsider with no attachment to either party, Pingree cited the accomplishments of her first term in Washington. Although the Republicans reclaimed the House majority, Pingree stressed in her acceptance speech that she will "work with people on both sides of the aisle to move this country forward, to move our state forward."

Junior Anna Wright, a Democrat, voted for Pingree and said she was "very happy" about the victory. She echoed the campus sentiment, as expressed in a pre-election poll conducted by the Orient last week, which showed an overwhelming support for Pingree.

"I was excited that we were holding on to some seats in the House," she said

Cornell du Houx, a Democrat, held onto his seat representing Maine's 66th District in the State House, winning by only 137 votes. He said he is "excited at the prospect of serving the people of Brunswick for a second term and working hard for them in Augusta."

He thanked the Bowdoin students that came out to the polls Tuesday and emphasized that he will continue to defend their rights.

"Every single year a bill comes up to prevent students from voting and I will continue to ensure that all students are allowed to vote on campus," he said. He called the proposition of such a bill a political maneuver by Republicans to dilute the student vote, which is typically Democratic.

When discussing his plans for Brunswick, he cited his desire to continue working on the redevelopment of the Naval Air Station and gave special attention to the advanced composite center at Southern Maine Community College, which is run in conjunction with the University of Maine and Bowdoin.

Cornell du Houx expressed concern over the loss of the Democratic majority in the State House but seemed hopeful that the two parties could work together.

"I hope the Republican Party will work in a bipartisan create legislation to help Maine and Brunswick. When [the Democrats] were in power, we allowed their legislation to be introduced into committee and be debated on the house floor, and I hope they extend the same courtesy to us."