Students watching election results in Jack Magee’s Pub erupted in cheers when NBC News declared Barack Obama the winner of the presidential election on Tuesday night. The results of local races and ballot measures—two of which made national headlines—also prompted celebrations from most students in the crowd.
Maine approved same-sex marriage with roughly 53 percent of voters residents voting “yes” on Question 1. In Brunswick, over 67 percent of voters supported the measure. Maine, along with Maryland and Washington, became the first state to institute same-sex marriage by popular vote.
Jordan Lantz ’15 interned on Mainers United for Marriage’s campaign for a “yes” vote on Question 1. He said campaign staffers felt not joy, but relief when they heard the result.
“Because in 2009 there was a chunk of voters they thought would vote “yes” that somehow voted “no,” there was a bit of trepidation going into this,” Lantz said. “The motto was: expect the worst, but hope for the best.”
Former Maine governor Angus King, a distinguished lecturer at Bowdoin until last spring, won a seat in the U.S. Senate with just under 53 percent of the vote, an impressive return in the six-person race. King had led Republican Charlie Summers and Democrat Cynthia Dill by significant margins throughout the race.
In his acceptance speech, King played with Maine’s state motto, turning the Latin “dirigo” which means “I lead,” into “dirigimus,” meaning “we lead.” As he did on the campaign trail, King spoke about his commitment to transcending partisanship in the Senate.
“Maine is leading by saying we’re tired of the political divisions that are keeping us from solving real problems and we’re tired of politicians whose main purpose seems to be to divide us instead of unite us,” King told a crowd at the Hilton Garden Inn in Freeport.
King’s election was a focus of the national political discourse on election night as Republicans tried—and failed—to seize control of the Senate. Pundits expect King, an independent, to caucus with the Democrats. His easy victory was seen as a blow to Republican hopes of a majority.
Democratic incumbent Chellie Pingree easily beat Republican challenger Jon Courtney in the race for Maine’s First District seat in the House of Representatives, garnering 73 percent of the vote to Courtney’s 27 percent.
At the local level, Democrat Mattie Daughtry won the race to represent District 66 in Maine’s House of Representatives, defeating Republican Grant Connors and Green Independent Party nominee Fred Horch. Daughtry won roughly 45.5 percent of the vote, compared to 22 percent for Connors and 32.5 percent for Horch.
The District 66 race opened up last summer after Alex Cornell du Houx ’06 decided not to run for reelection. Even without the advantage of incumbency, Daughtry managed to win by a larger margin than du Houx, who defeated Horch by just five percentage points in 2010.
Before the results had come in, Horch hinted that a loss might not be wholly unexpected.
“We’re going up against a party machine,” he said. “People who vote for me are voting for me, and people who vote for the other candidate—it might not be the candidate; it might just be the party.”
Daughtry did not agree that people voted for her just because of her party affiliation.
“I am so sick of hearing that line,” she said. “Stop hating on the parties. It’s all about the individuals.”
Even on Tuesday afternoon before the polls closed, Connors said he knew how the race might turn out.
“Considering that I’m a Republican in a Democratic town, I have a pretty good idea,” he said.
Democrats hold a nearly two to one registration advantage in District 66.
Democrat Charles Priest was reelected in District 63, defeating Republican John Bouchard, and in the District 10 State Senate race, Democratic incumbent Stanley Gerzofsky beat Republican Ralph Dean with over 70 percent of the vote.