Maine Legislative Update: Second Session of the 130th Legislature
Sadly, we learned of the passing of two legislators in the past few days. It was announced on Friday, January 28th, that longtime Democratic legislator and current House member, Representative John Tuttle, passed away overnight. We all knew him from our shared years in the State House and will miss him.
On Monday January 31st, we learned of the passing of another good friend and current State Representative, Donna Doore, D-Augusta. We offer our condolences to both of their spouses, children, family and friends.
Representative Chris Johansen, R- Monticello, recovered from COVID, but lost his wife to the pandemic, and also chose to resign his seat in the Legislature. Given that these are House Districts and there will be a general election in November, there will not be special elections to fill these seats.
Second Session of the 130th going forward
The Legislature published its February Schedule on Friday, January 28th. Governor Mills announced earlier this week that she will be presenting her State of the State address in-person at 7 pm on Thursday, February 10th. We expect the Supplemental Budget to be introduced soon after. The 10th will be the first scheduled session day in February. February 16th and February 23rd are the only other session days currently scheduled for this month. Legislative leadership has also made known that Legislative Committees will continue to meet remotely.
The Legislative Council met on Thursday, January 27th. The Council allowed in a handful of after-deadline bills. Once language is made available, we will review and make you aware of any of potential interest.
State Senate Updates
As many of you will be aware there have been several announcements related to State Senate races that made it timely to update our earlier analysis of the expected 2022 match-ups. We have kept the information from the earlier report that is still relevant.
The most recent news, and arguably most significant, is that Senator Louie Luchini (D-Hancock), resigned effective immediately last week. He has accepted a position with the Small Business Administration. He beat his most recent predecessor, Brian Langley, in 2020, but may be one of very few Democrats who could do so. Because it is a Senate seat it is required that a Special Election be held. Langley has announced he will run in the Special Election, and it would be safe to assume, that if he wins, he will run in the General Election in November. Current Democratic State Representatives, Lynne Williams and Genevieve McDonald have announced their interest in running for the seat.
While the district is trending more Democratic, Langley has a definite name recognition advantage, is from the population center of Ellsworth, and was a popular moderate Republican when he served. Rep. Williams currently represents the towns on Mount Desert Island and has run as a Green in previous elections. Rep. McDonald is a lobster harvester from the Blue Hill/Stonington peninsula who has been prominent in the pro-vaccination camp, before COVID, due to her young twin daughters’ health issues. Both are in their second terms in the House. Senator Luchini appears to be staying out of the contest. This is a clear opportunity for a Republican pick up.
Updates to the Redistricting Analysis
The analysis above and below 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.
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 Republican district. The Honorable Doug Thomas, U-Ripley, ran against Davis in primaries in the past and lost. Ripley is now in Senator Black’s district and appears Thomas may run against him as an independent, but with very little hope of success and Black should be fine.
Further, Republicans gain another solid, conservative district, in western Maine, comprised of towns in Oxford and rural northern Cumberland and York Counties. Current 4-term Republican Rep. Nathan Wadsworth has announced that he will be running for this seat.
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. While earlier it was thought this seat might be a match-up between the two term-limited moderates in Windham, Representatives, Mark Bryant-D and Patrick Corey-R it is now known that Gary Plummer, a Republican that has been elected to this seat easily in the past, is running once again. Bill Diamond and Gary Plummer have never run against one another and sometimes support each other in their respective races. It might be slightly more competitive with redistricting, or if Rep. Mark Bryant choses to run, but Bryant has not chosen to run against Plummer in the past.
Targets in the Senate Races
Without significant changes, a handful of seats will remain competitive targets. It is now confirmed that Democratic incumbent Senators Ned Claxton of Auburn and Chloe Maxmin of Lincoln County will not run for re-election. These seats will be targets for both parties. In the former, Republican Eric Brakey, the previous State Senator from the district, will run again. He has proven he can win the district handily, however, his failed campaigns for Congress and Governor, and extreme libertarian views carry some baggage into the race.
In the Lincoln County seat two Democrats have announced their candidacies, Carmen Reny of Bremen, and Dan LeVasseur of Newcastle. The Senate Democratic leadership has announced their support of Reny who is a lifelong resident in the district, a teacher, and the spouse of a member of the family that owns the Reny’s department stores throughout Maine. LeVasseur ran a failed primary for his State House seat in 2020. Abden Simmons of Waldoboro is the Republican candidate and has been elected to the State House as a State Representative in recent years. He is very active in various local fishing issues and Waldoboro municipal affairs. It is expected to be a competitive race if Reny wins the primary which she is expected to do.
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. In Waldo County, current Rep. MaryAnne Kinney has announced she is running against Senator Chip Curry. In the Scarborough/Gorham seat, Tim Thorsen, who was recently beat handily by Jim Boyle in a Special Election for one of the Gorham House districts, will be the Republican running against Senator Stacy Brenner.
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. The Republicans will have a primary between perennial candidate, Mark Andre from Waterville, and current State Rep. Mike Perkins from Oakland. Perkins had earlier announced he was running against Bruce Poloquin in a Republican Primary for the Second District Congressional Seat but has since dropped out of that race. The Democratic Candidate will be a recent Waterville Fire Chief, David LaFountaine.
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. Considering updated information, it would appear that at the present time Republicans have an edge in the Hancock, Sanford, Auburn and Windham seats in terms of likely candidates. Further, the Lincoln County, Waterville, Waldo County, Wells and possibly Gardiner/Winthrop seats are likely to be competitive races.
Senate Analysis by District
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. See update above.
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. Current State Rep. Peter Lyford is running for this seat.
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. See update above.
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. Recent Representative Pinny Beebe-Center, D-Rockland has announced her candidacy for this seat.
Senator Maxmin – D – 1st term ((Choosing 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. See update above.
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. Current Republican State Rep. Jeff Hanley has announced he is running for this seat. This makes it a more competitive race as Hanley’s brother, Steve was the conservative Democratic Representative of Gardiner for years and both are will know in the Senate District.
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. See update above.
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 Keim 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. See update above.
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. See update above.
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. Current Democratic State Rep. Teresa Pierce (pronounced purse) is running for this seat. She is also Breen’s co-chair on the Appropriations Committee.
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. See update above.
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. Sanborn has announced she is not running for re-election. As of today, we have only heard that former Portland Mayor Jill Duson, and first term State Rep. Grayson Lookner, both Democrats, are running for the seat. We expect more Democrats will enter the primary for this seat.
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. See update above.
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. Recent Democratic State Rep. Henry Ingwersen of Arundel is running for this seat. Speaker Fecteau announced that he is NOT.
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. Current Republican Representative Matt Harrington is running for this open 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. Shari MacDonald, past Republican State Rep. from Old Orchard Beach is running for this seat.
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.