This story was corrected. Raymond Brunyanszki owns the Camden Harbour Inn.

 

I may not know much about politics, but I know a good party when I see one, and I had the pleasure of seeing a number of them last evening.

Tuesday was an epic night for soirees, with all of the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor hosting celebratory affairs for their volunteers and supporters as the results from the primary election rolled in.

Some candidates went frugal – opting to gather in the campaign office and munch on chips – while others spared no expense at posh destinations with lavish drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

While the constraints of distance and deadlines prevented me from attending every party, I had help from a small army of reporters who filled me in on the important details of each event.

Here’s a snapshot of what the party atmosphere was like at the various get-togethers.

STEVE ABBOTT (R) –
Campaign office, Portland

Homemade sugar cookies shaped like the state of Maine attracted attention in this small party at campaign headquarters on Baxter Boulevard. The cookies were joined by a spread of cupcakes, fudge, crackers, fruit, brownies and chips. Red and white balloons and “Abbott for Governor” signs livened up the office decor. Offices usually used by staffers were cleared out to make way for party guests, including the youngest supporters who had a designated play room. Beer, wine and soda were served up for free. Guests include Peter Cianchette, the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, Sam Ladd, chairman of Maine Bank & Trust and Bill Green, of Bill Green’s Maine.

BILL BEARDSLEY (R) – Ellsworth home
The atmosphere was informal at Bill Beardsley’s party, as it was held in his Ellsworth home, where his mother was born. Family, friends,  staff, supporters and several local candidates descended on the scene after the polls closed and snacked on sandwiches, fruit, brownies and eclairs while watching the returns.

MATT JACOBSON (R) – Binga’s Stadium Smoke House & Sports Bar, Portland

The music was cranking in Binga’s downstairs function room, where the red walls and black ceiling were accented by yellow, blue and white balloons and blue posters that read “Matt.” The music came courtesy of an iPod and included tracks form Jimmy Buffett, Barenaked Ladies and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and red wine were popular drink choices among the business crowd, which included Tim Bryant, of Preti Flaherty, Chip Kelley, of Key Bank, and Peter Dufour, of MacDonald Page. Binga’s owner Alec Altman, who’s a supporter, hooked up the party with wings (of course) with all the dipping sauces, chicken tenders, cut veggies and assorted desserts. Like all the parties, the televisions offered up campaign results. But with a nod to the Celtics fans in the house, one screen was devoted to their game against the Lakers.

PAUL LePAGE (R) – Cancun Restaurant, Waterville

It was a colorful, raucous party at the Cancun Mexican Restaurant in Waterville, with supporters from all over the state. Guests ate salsa and chips and drank beer and margaritas.

PETER MILLS (R) – Campaign office, Portland

At the Peter Mills headquarters on Preble Street in Portland, guests had their pick of about 35 bottles of red and white wine, gin and more than a half-dozen bottles of whiskey. They sampled a potpourri of homemade appetizers and desserts, and platters of vegetables and deli meats.

LES OTTEN (R) –  Sable Oaks Marriott, South Portland

Guests sporting lime green Les Otten T-shirts mingled with others in cocktail dresses and suits. The party’s venue in the hotel’s ballroom was formal but the vibe was casual with the lights on full blast and the televisions streaming the three networks (including that necessary Celtics game). Bags of Planters peanuts and metallic stars decorated the tables draped in white linens, and the buffet served up pigs-in-a-blanket (which went fast), veggie spears and ranch dressing in shot glasses and assorted cheeses, including a salsajack from Vermont, a smoked Gouda from Holland and a baby Swiss from Pineland Farms in Maine. The cash bar was slinging equals amounts of beer, wine and mixed drinks, while a sheet cake decorated with the words “Always Onward” awaited cutting. Notable attendees included Tim Wilson, the founder of Seeds of Peace; Jamie Kaplan, the executive director of the Cromwell Center for Disabilities Awareness; and George Smith, the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

BRUCE POLIQUIN (R) – The Woodlands Club, Falmouth

The bar television in the country club flashed between the Celtics game and local channels running a ticker with returns as guests mingled.

PATRICK McGOWAN (D)
– St. Paul Center, Augusta

In the wood-paneled venue, party-goers drank beer and wine and mingled with notable guests, who included Public Utilities Commissioner Jack Cashman and lobbyist Severin Beliveau.

LIBBY MITCHELL (D) – Bayside Bowl, Portland

The hot new bowling alley Bayside Bowl welcomed Libby Mitchell supporters, who had the luxury of bowling a few frames while they waited for returns to slowly trickle in. The snacks included coconut curry chicken poppers in the shape of pineapple, tasso ham, smoked cod on flatbread with a balsamic-pork reduction, black bean corn cakes and barbecue pork sliders. 

STEVE ROWE (D) – Bull Feeney’s, Portland

Steven Rowe’s wife is a nurse, so it’s no surprise his appetizer spread was one of the most healthful of the night. It included two oversized baskets of cut veggies, a massive fruit platter, a selection of assorted cheeses, a few bowls of pretzels and crackers, lots of multicolored tortilla chips and salsa, plus a few passed hors d’oeuvres, including chicken wings. The upstairs space at the bar was decorated with handpainted signs (including one that said “Women Rowe-ing”) recycled from the convention and created by campaign supporters around the state. The bar’s music was inaudible over the roar of the crowd, who, according to the bartender, were favoring Allagash White and Samuel Adams Summer Ale.  Those spotted at the party included Sid Tripp and Leah Bartley of the DownEast Pride Alliance and developer Greg Shinberg.

ROSA SCARCELLI (D) – Portland Harbor Hotel, Portland

You know the party’s going to be good when there are signature cocktails, and Rosa Scarcelli’s team served up not one but two. They included the Rosa Mimosa, made with champagne, blood orange puree and wild blueberry juice, and Primary Passion, mixed from passion fruit vodka, blue curacao, fresh lime juice and cranberry juice. Under the low lighting in the upscale hotel’s Ambassador and Envoy rooms, guests enjoyed simple munchies, such as cheese, crackers and mixed nuts. The iPod playlist was composed by Scarcelli’s husband, Thom Rhoads, and included “Rising” by Bruce Springsteen and “Revolution” by Rascal Flatts. Guests included Tim Soley of East Brown Cow, Dr. Michelle Shems, a Falmouth orthodontist, Craig Pendleton, the president of the Saco-Biddeford Chamber, and Raymond Brunyanszki, who owns the Camden Harbour Inn.

Staff Writer Avery Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:
[email protected]