June 9, 2010

The day after: Governor's race takes shape

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“To be this close to the election and have this many undecideds is good for me,” he said as she stood outside the Lewiston Armory. “My opponents are such known commodities, except for Rosa.”

Scarcelli and Rowe campaigned in southern Maine late in the day, greeting voters as people came to Portland and Scarborough to cast votes after work.

Rowe, 57, stood outside the Italian Heritage Center and said hello to many familiar faces.

“You’re the next governor!” one woman said. “I’ll vote for you.”

In Scarborough, Scarcelli, 40, wore her signature orange sweater as she greeted voters. She felt encouraged because of the level of activity on her Twitter account and Facebook page, but she had no firm polling numbers to back it up.

“You look even better in person than you do on TV!” a woman said as she walked in to vote.

As she stood with a giant “Vote Here Tuesday” banner behind her, Scarcelli wrapped up a long day – along with many of the other 11 candidates – spent wooing voters across the state.

“We’re feeling very strong,” she said, just minutes before the polls closed. “There’s a tremendous amount of momentum. Hopefully, the people who really want to see new ideas will come out.”

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at: scover@centralmaine.com

REPUBLICANS

By Matt Wickenheiser

Waterville Mayor Paul LePage surged ahead of his competitors Tuesday night to emerge at the top of a seven-way Republican primary in the Maine governor’s race.

Les Otten, who had held second place for much of the night, conceded around 11 p.m.

“Tonight was not a win for any particular group. It was not a win for any particular ideology or any particular faction. Tonight was a win for the state of Maine and our future,” said LePage in a statement. “Now, having been homeless at the age of 11, I am on the doorstep to the Blaine House in Augusta. This is the story of the American dream.”

With 95 percent of precincts reporting by Wednesday afternoon, LePage, 61, led the Republican pack with 38 percent of the vote. Otten followed with 17 percent and Peter Mills with 15 percent.

The rest of the field was Steve Abbott with 13 percent, Bill Beardsley with 9 percent, Bruce Poliquin with 5 percent and Matt Jacobson with 3 percent.

Maine GOP chairman Charlie Webster said he thought LePage came out on top because the “regular people relate to a guy who’s like them.”

“People in the state of Maine are pretty upset about what’s happened in Augusta for 30 years,” said Webster. “Paul LePage proved he could fix things in Waterville.”

LePage will face Democrat Elizabeth Mitchell in the November general election, and as many as three independents, including Eliot Cutler of Cape Elizabeth, Kevin Scott of Andover and Shawn Moody of Gorham, who have qualified to be on the ballot. Moody said he’ll announce this morning if he’s running.

Otten said he had called LePage and had “given him my wholehearted support in his run to be the next governor of Maine.”

The Republican primary was an expensive proposition this year. Candidates spent roughly $4.5 million in the race.

LePage only spent $180,254, according to campaign finance reports. Only Jacobson, in last place, spent less.

The big spender in the campaign was Otten, at $2.3 million. Otten raised about $122,550 and loaned his campaign $2.47 million.

Jacobson conceded early, stepping to the podium at Binga’s Stadium in Portland to the cheers of about 40 supporters.

“I think it is pretty clear we are not going to climb out of this hole,” he said.

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