Chris Pierce, the chairman of Dingley Press in Lisbon, was not undecided about supporting Bruce Poliquin in the Republican primary.

He’s known Poliquin for about 10 years, since he coached Pierce’s two boys, Richie and Lenny, at North Yarmouth Academy.

“I think he brings an outside perspective that is not politics as usual,” Pierce said as he waited for returns with other Poliquin supporters at the Cumberland Club in Portland. “The state is ready for that.”

As folks lingered in the Chamberlain Bar at the club, nursing drinks and watching the returns trickle in, Pierce said he hopes voters had a chance to understand Poliquin as a person.

“It’s very difficult to stand out among seven people. The messages aren’t very different,” he said. “But when he goes to these town meetings, he’s very straightforward. He’s a very genuine guy.”

Pierce’s oldest son, Richie, played two seasons of baseball for Poliquin at NYA. His son initially had no plans to play the sport, until his father encouraged him to speak to Poliquin. Pierce recalls his son returning after 45 minutes to tell him “I want to play for that guy.”
8:44 p.m.

Some 75 supporters of Republican candidate Bruce Poliquin mingled over cocktails at the Cumberland Club tonight.

Poliquin arrived around 7:30 p.m. to join them, after voting in his hometown of Georgetown and spending the day on the phone with undecided voters.

“We like the momentum we’ve been having the last 10 days,” said Poliquin. “We’ve made thousands of phone calls and have had folks knocking on doors.”

Poliquin said he expected a long night. “We think it’s going to be very close,” he said.