U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree easily won a fourth term representing Maine’s 1st Congressional District Tuesday, defeating Republican Isaac Misiuk and independent Richard Murphy following a low-key campaign in an election dominated by other state races.

Pingree, 59, captured about 62 percent of the vote, with about 8 percent of precincts reporting.

“I feel really grateful that voters gave me a chance to serve another term,” Pingree told the Press Herald.

She said some of her top priorities will be veterans’ services and farming. She said she hopes to retool farm laws so more small farmers can take advantage of government incentives and crop insurance.

“Some of these laws are steered toward the big corn, wheat or cotton farmers, and we have a lot of small farmers here in Maine,” Pingree said.

Many young farmers in Maine are attempting to capitalize on the locally-sourced and organic food trends.

“I represent probably the prettiest district in the country,” Pingree said during her acceptance speech in Portland.

Maine’s 1st District race never developed into a heated contest.

Pingree did not run an aggressive fundraising campaign but still raised nearly $400,000 compared to just over $20,000 for Misiuk and $9,000 for Murphy. The race was never considered close, and the Democrat began running television ads only recently.

While Misiuk had the verbal backing of the Maine Republican Party and Gov. Paul LePage, he never received much financial or logistical support from the state party or from any national groups. Murphy gained additional support and name recognition from three televised debates but it was late in the election cycle.

Pingree won her first election to Congress in 2008 after the incumbent, Democratic Rep. Tom Allen, opted to challenge Republican Sen. Susan Collins rather than seek another term in the House. Prior to her 2008 win, Pingree served as president and CEO of Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization active on national issues such as voting rights and money in politics.

She also represented Knox County in the Maine Senate for eight years during the 1990s. A longtime resident of the island of North Haven, Pingree co-owns Nebo Lodge bed and breakfast. In 2011 she married S. Donald Sussman, a hedge fund manager and major donor to charitable organizations and left-leaning political groups in Maine and nationally. Sussman is majority owner of MaineToday Media, which publishes the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel.

A liberal or progressive Democrat, Pingree has been a vocal advocate in Congress on food and farm-to-table issues, as well as matters affecting small or organic farmers. Earlier this year, Fortune magazine named Pingree No. 2 on its list of the “Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink” because of her focus on sustainable agriculture and the concerns of small farmers.

Although a relatively junior member of the minority party, Pingree has cultivated a close relationship with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. She was named in 2012 to the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which alongside its Senate counterpart is responsible for establishing the federal budget.

Misiuk, a self-described conservative from Gorham, is a second-year student at the University of Southern Maine who put his studies on hold in order to run for Congress. At 25, he was one of the youngest official party candidates in the nation on this year’s ballot and he made giving younger generations a voice in Washington a major theme of his campaign. He was unopposed in the Republican primary in June.

Murphy, 36, is a twice-deployed active member of the Massachusetts Army National Guard who ran on an anti-Washington platform while pledging to defend the U.S. Constitution. Soft spoken but serious in his contention that well-heeled Washington politicians had lost touch with the average American, Murphy crafted a 14-point “Oath to Voters” and pledged to resign from office if voters determined he had broken that oath. He has worked in civil engineering, contracting and real estate in Maine, Massachusetts and overseas.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

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Joe Lawlor can be contacted at 791-6376 or at:

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