Legislative Alert: Redistricting Analysis
Below is an analysis of the recently enacted Maine State Senate redistricting and the potential impact this may have in the next election cycle. This comes with the caveat that the feelings of the electorate in relation to the Congressional mid-term elections, including our own 2nd District race, the Mills/LePage gubernatorial match-up, and the popularity and name recognition of the candidates themselves, are all more predictive of outcomes than other factors.
As is generally understood, there are some candidates who are well known and well-liked regardless of party, who can win districts where other members of their party would almost always fail. Democratic Senator Bill Diamond is possibly the most obvious example of this, but the Honorable Roger Katz, and current Senator Matt Pouliot, are similar, well liked Republicans, who have won the traditionally Democratic Augusta seat, with many State employees residing in-district.
The new Senate districts are mostly not new. Several are exactly the same and most have only very minimal changes. Even a few of those with some significant shifts in rural counties are very unlikely to see any losses by incumbents of either party or changes in which party will likely represent the district in the future. If anything, most of the new districts may minimally benefit both parties, with the incumbent party becoming slightly more likely to keep the seat with less effort.
While conservatives might at first be concerned at the merging of the current Piscataquis County district held by Senator Paul Davis, and Senator Stacey Guerin’s south-west Penobscot County district, the seat will easily remain a Republic district. Further, Republicans gain another solid, conservative district, in western Maine, comprised of towns in Oxford and rural northern Cumberland and York Counties. There are four Republican House members currently living in the district and no currently serving Democrats.
In creating this new Senate district, the above mentioned Senator Diamond’s district will become more competitive for Democrats. With a portion of Westbrook being added to the district and several more rural and conservative towns being removed from the district, a moderate Democrat with name recognition can be competitive. It is likely that current Windham State Representatives, Democrat Mark Bryant and Republican Patrick Corey, both term limited and both moderates, may run for this seat.
Without significant changes, a handful of seats will remain competitive targets. With the likelihood that Democratic incumbent Senators Ned Claxton of Auburn and Chloe Maxmin of Lincoln County will choose to not run for re-election, these seats will be targets for both parties. The Senate seats in Waldo County, Scarborough/Gorham, and the Wells area, all held by 1st term Democrats and being swing districts are also likely to receive a great deal of attention. Of the seats that will be open due to term limits, other than Senator Diamond’s seat mentioned above, the Waterville Senate seat will be of particular interest.
At first glance it appears that there are 16 reliably Democratic districts, 12 reliably Republican districts, and probably 7 seats that may be targets. Of these 7 seats only one is currently held by a Republican. Obviously once all the candidates are known some of this could change.
Senator Jackson – D – 3rd term
This district has only minor changes, but moves a current Democratic Representative, Rep. David McCrea, into the district by adding Fort Fairfield.
Senator Stewart – R – 1st term
This district remains centered in Southern Aroostook County but adds several new towns in Penobscot County. These include what used to be Democratic strongholds in Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway, but these towns are now represented by a Republican in the House for the first time in generations. They were always represented by moderate, union Democrats in the past and their addition to this district is not seen as a threat to the Senate Republican incumbent.
Senator Farrin – R – 2nd term
Farrin is keeping the more populated, less remote portions of this Somerset County district, but is adding several conservative, rural towns from Penobscot County, and some minor changes were made to the rural towns he represents in Kennebec County. It will remain a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 4 – (Currently both 4 and 10)
Senator Davis – R – term limited /Senator Guerin – R – 2nd term
While this district still comprises all of Piscataquis County it now also includes most of the Penobscot County towns in Senator Guerin’s district including her hometown of Glenburn, thus merging two reliably Republican districts into one. Senator Davis is term limited, after this session, so it creates no conflicts.
Senate District 5 (Currently District 17)
Senator Black – R –2nd term
This Franklin County District is significantly changed in the sense that it adds several remote Somerset County towns while removing many similarly remote Franklin County towns and makes minor changes to the towns represented in Kennebec County. Senator Black will keep Farmington and the surrounding towns that are at the heart of his current district. Perhaps of note is that Hon. Doug Thomas, a sometimes primary challenger to Sen. Davis, is now in this district and no longer in Senate District 4. This district will remain a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 6
Senator Moore – R – 2nd term
This district remains largely the same with all of Washington County remaining in it with additional Hancock County towns being added, making the district slightly more conservative. This district will remain a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 7
Senator Luchini – D – 2nd term
This Hancock County district is remaining relatively unchanged, with several of the more rural areas of Hancock County moving into District 6 and some additional coastal towns being added from District 8. It is still a swing district but might be slightly more favorable to Democrats and still easily winnable by Senator Luchini.
Senate District 8 – (Currently District 5)
Senator Dill – D – term limited
Other than the removal of Millinocket from the district and some other minor changes in which rural towns are in or out of the district, the district remains centered around Orono and Oldtown, making it reliably Democratic.
Senate District 9
Senator Baldacci – D – 1st term
Remains exactly the same with only Bangor and Hermon in the district. This district leans Democratic.
Senate District 10 (Currently District 8)
Senator Rosen – R – term limited
This district lost some coastal towns and more remote portions of Hancock county and added one rural town in Hancock County and two in Penobscot. It will remain a district that leans significantly toward Republicans.
Senate District 11
Senator Curry – D – 1st term
This district will remain the same, representing all of Waldo County. This is a swing district and the results will depend on the candidates and the state and national political winds.
Senator Mirimant – D – term limited
This district will remain almost the same, continuing to represent almost all of Knox County - only Washington and Isle Au Haut being outside the district. This district will most likely remain Democratic.
Senator Maxmin – D – 1st term (May choose to not run for re-election)
This district will remain exactly the same with all of Lincoln County, other than Dresden, plus Washington in Knox County, and Windsor in Kennebec County. Senator Maxmin may choose to not run for re-election. This district remains a swing district winnable by candidates that appear moderate in either party.
Senator Hickman – D – 1st term
This Kennebec County district will remain the same other than the addition of the town of Wayne. This district leans Democratic.
Senator Pouliot – R – 2nd term
This Kennebec County district will remain centered around Augusta with Belgrade and Mount Vernon added to the district and Oakland removed from it. This district has been represented by Republicans for over 10 years but remains a swing district depending on the candidates. These minor changes will be no threat to Senator Pouliot’s re-election.
Senator Cyrway – R – term limited
This is a Kennebec County district centered in and around Waterville. It will remain mostly the same but lose Benton and Clinton while adding Oakland. It will remain a swing district.
Senate District 17 (Currently District 22)
Senator Timberlake – R – 2nd term
This reliably conservative district will remain so with Wayne and Durham being removed and Fayette, Livermore and Livermore Falls being added to it.
Senate District 18 (Currently District 19)
Senator Bennett – R – 1st term
There are minor changes to the towns in Bennett’s district in Oxford and Cumberland County and adds Mechanic Falls and Minot in Androscoggin County. It will remain a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 19 (Currently District 18)
Senator Keim – R – 3rd term
Senator Kiem is losing her Androscoggin towns but adding all the towns from Franklin County that were removed from Senator Black’s current district. There are also minor changes to her many towns in Oxford County but the seat remains centered in the Rumford area. It remains a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 20
Senator Claxton – D – 2nd term (Choosing to not run for re-election)
This district loses Mechanic Falls and Minot but adds Durham. This makes no significant change in the district and it will remain a competitive swing district.
Senate District 21
Senator Libby – D – term limited
This district remains the City of Lewiston. The Honorable Peggy Rotundo-D will most assuredly win her 5th term in the Senate and 9th term in the Legislature.
Senate District 22 (New District – no current Senator lives in District)
This new Senate District comprises the following towns in Cumberland, Oxford and York Counties: Baldwin, Naples, Sebago, Standish, Hiram, Porter, Acton; Cornish, Limerick, Limington, Newfield, Parsonsfield, and Shapleigh. Republican Reps Rich Cebra, Ted Kryzak, Lester Ordway, and Nate Wadsworth all reside in this new district. Reps. Ordway and Wadsworth are both term limited in the House. Rep. Wadsworth is expected to run. No currently elected Democrat or recent office holder lives in the new district. It is a reliably Republican district.
Senate District 23 (Currently District 24)
Senator Daughtry – D – 1st term
This district will lose North Yarmouth, but add part of Yarmouth and Chebeague Island. It will remain a reliably Democratic district.
Senate District 24 (Currently District 23)
Senator Vitelli – D – 3rd term
This district remains exactly as it is, with all of Sagadahoc County, and Dresden in Lincoln County. This has been a swing district, but is leaning Democratic in recent elections. Senator Vitelli is very likely to win re-election.
Senate District 25
Senator Breen – D – term limited
This district added North Yarmouth, and took away (parts of) Long Island, Westbrook, and Yarmouth. It will remain a district that leans Democratic.
Senate District 26
Senator Bill Diamond – D – term limited
This district has consistently been a conservative district that Democrat Bill Diamond can always win if he is able and willing to run. The new district loses a couple more conservative towns and adds part of Westbrook to the district. This makes the district more of a swing district winnable by other Democrats. Both the current Representatives of Windham, Mark Bryant-D and Patrick Corey-R are term limited and may run against one another for this seat. Both are seen as moderates.
Senate District 27 (Currently District 28)
Senator Sanborn – D – 2nd term
This district continues to contain parts of Westbrook and Portland and will remain Democratic.
Senate District 28 (Currently District 27)
Senator Chipman – D – 3rd term
This district continues to contain part of Portland and has added part of Long Island and will remain Democratic.
Senate District 29
Senator Carney –D – 1st term
This district will remain South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and part of Scarborough. It will remain a Democratic district.
Senate District 30
Senator Brenner – D – 1st term
This district will remain most of Scarborough and part of Gorham and will remain a competitive swing district.
Senate District 31
Senator Bailey – D – 1st term
This Saco centered district lost a couple more conservative towns and will remain solidly Democratic.
Senate District 32
Senator Deschambault – D – term limited
This Biddeford centered district lost Alfred and Kennebunkport and added Hollis and will remain solidly Democratic. Speaker Fecteau may run for this Senate seat.
Senate District 33
Senator Woodsome – R – term limited
This Sanford centered district added Alfred and Lebanon, kept Waterboro and lost five more rural towns. It will remain a Republican leaning seat.
Senate District 34
Senator Rafferty – D – 1st term
This coastal York County district is adding Kennebunkport and losing a couple more rural and conservative towns. It is newly held by a Democrat for the first time in many years, and these changes might make it easier for a Democrat to hold. Rafferty is a popular personality in the district.
Senate District 35
Senator Lawrence – D – 2nd term
This district remains the same, other than losing part of Berwick. It leans Democratic, and Senator Lawrence, with a long history of public service in the district, will most assuredly win re-election.
Breakdown of Senate Districts by County*
Androscoggin 4 SAME
Aroostook 2 SAME
Cumberland 10 +1
Franklin 2 +1
Hancock 3 SAME
Kennebec 7 +1
Knox 3 +1
Lincoln 2 SAME
Oxford 3 +1
Penobscot 6 SAME
Piscataquis 1 SAME
Sagadahoc 1 SAME
Somerset 3 SAME
Waldo 1 SAME
Washington 1 SAME
York 6 SAME
*This is the number of Senators who represent at least one town in a county. Several Senators represent more than one county, so this adds up to more than the actual number of Senators.