SACO — Rep. Linda Valentino won a state Senate primary race that pitted her against another longtime state representative, who drew out-of-state donations.

By a wide margin, Valentino defeated Rep. Don Pilon for the Democratic nomination in Senate District 5, despite monetary support he received from racino developers and state and national Realtors’ groups.

Valentino had 1,730 votes, 66 percent, to Pilon’s 875 votes, 34 percent.

The District 5 race was among four Democratic primaries in northern York County and southern Cumberland County on Tuesday.

Senate districts 4, 5, 6 and 7 cover the Biddeford-Saco area and communities in Greater Portland.
Pilon and Valentino, both of Saco, sought the nomination to replace Sen. Barry Hobbins, who must leave after four terms in office.

District 5 covers Buxton, Dayton, Old Orchard Beach, Saco and part of Biddeford.

The District 5 race attracted attention after Ocean Properties Inc., the Portsmouth, N.H.-based developer behind last year’s racino proposal in  Biddeford, transferred $25,000 to a new political action committee. The Race for ME PAC spent more than $13,000 to support pro-racino candidates in Biddeford and Saco, including $9,513 in support of Pilon.

Pilon supported the racino, while Valentino was a high-profile proponent of sending any racino plans to a statewide vote.

Records on file with the state ethics commission show that Pilon, a real estate agent, also had the backing of the Maine Association of Realtors PAC, which spent $2,700 on his behalf, and the National Association of Realtors, which spent $3,500 on phone banks and automated phone calls. Pilon also has a leadership PAC, Move Maine Forward, which on Dec. 27 received $2,100 from six Ocean Properties executives.

The nine mailers sent in support of Pilon helped increase name and face recognition across the district, Pilon said as he waited for polls to close.

“Everyone in the district heard of me constantly,” he said.

Despite that, Pilon said he was disappointed with the numbers from Saco, Biddeford, Buxton and Old Orchard Beach, where he trailed Valentino.

“I’m extremely pleased that Maine people reward people who do positive campaigning,” said Valentino, who will run against Republican Timothy Sevigny of Saco in November’s general election.

In York County, David Dutremble topped Jim Emerson of Biddeford for the District 4 nomination to replace Sen. Nancy Sullivan, who was termed out and ran for House District 137, which she lost Tuesday to Alan Casavant.

Dutremble got 1,696 votes – 75 percent of the vote – to Emerson’s 558 votes – 25 percent.

In the District 6 race, Gorham businessman James Boyle won with 61 percent of the vote.

The seat is open because Sen. Phil Bartlett is termed out of the Senate. Boyle got 1,106 votes, beating House District 136 Rep. Timothy Driscoll, who had 700 votes.

Boyle will face off against Ruth Summers of Scarborough in November.

In District 7, with 100 percent of precincts reporting, Rebecca Millett of Cape Elizabeth beat Bryan Kaenrath of South Portland.

Millett had 1,590 votes, or 63 percent, in Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and Scarborough, to Kaenrath’s 926 votes.

Millett, a former Cape Elizabeth School Board member, will face Republican Gary Crosby of South Portland to replace state Sen. Cynthia Dill, who ran for U.S. Senate and won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.

Kaenrath was a three-term representative for House District 124 in South Portland.

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at: [email protected]