November 15, 2012

Maine's House Republicans going with new leader

On a day of soul-searching, Kenneth Fredette is named minority leader nominee.

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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“I thought this summer that we were going to lose some seats, but I never thought that we’d lose 25 percent,” Davis said during his speech. 

Davis said Republicans needed to focus on recruiting solid candidates, “not jockeying for leadership in the next race.”

“We need to train our troops ... we need to train them in electioneering,” he added. “... I don’t want any candidate to feel like they’re out there alone.”

Nutting struck a somber tone. The outgoing House Speaker’s leadership run was a late development that raised eyebrows among some Republican members, who blamed him and other leaders for the election loses. 

Specifically, members privately grumbled about the re-election strategy that focused too little on Republicans’ legislative accomplishments. 

As speaker, Nutting played some part in the decisions to protect Republican incumbents or elect new lawmakers. Nutting's political action committee targeted and spent in myriad races, while the Democrats focused on about 50 battleground districts. 

Nutting defended his leadership, saying that he helped secure campaign funding from the Virginia-based Republican State Leadership Committee, which dumped approximately $800,000 into legislative races. 

Rep. Alex Willette, of Mapleton, was elected as the Republican assistant minority House leader.

Election officials are still conducting recounts in tight legislative races, but Democrats are projected to  hold 89 seats in the 151-member House when the new Legislature is sworn in Dec. 5. Republicans will have approximately 58 seats. Four unenrolled members have also won seats. 

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