PORTLAND — Steve Rowe made his way upstairs at Bull Feeney’s around 9 p.m., and when the large crowd caught sight of him they erupted in a now familiar “Go Rowe, Go!” chant.

Several cameras from various media outlets captured the moment as he greeted his supporters with handshakes and hugs. A second giant cheer went up as Rowe entered the second room upstairs, where he spoke briefly a few minutes ago.

“I’m just filled with a lot of thanks and a lot of pride this evening,” Rowe said to the crowd of about 200 people.

“However it comes out tonight, and we won’t know that until later, I’m a winner because of you,” he said.

Rowe’s campaign staff, sitting in a backroom, are encouraged by the early numbers.

“We’re beating expectations where we need to beat them right now,” said campaign manager Toby McGrath. He noted that the campaign hoped to get 32 percent in Freeport, and the unofficial result was 38 percent. Although the tally for Portland is not complete, Rowe is running at around 49 percent, which is 10 percentage points higher than the goal, McGrath said.

“That bodes well in our backyard,” he said.

8:49 p.m.

PORTLAND — Toby McGrath had his eyes on the computer screen at a table upstairs at Bull Feeney’s pub. The word anxious was an understatement at 8:30 p.m.

“It’s such a competitive race,” said McGrath, campaign manager for Democratic Maine gubernatorial candidate Steve Rowe.

“There so many undecideds,” he said. “Up until 7:50 p.m. tonight we were calling voters, to get them to the polls.”

McGrath said the big indicator for Rowe, a former Maine attorney general, will be the returns in his home town in Portland. If Rowe does very well here, McGrath likes his candidate’s chances. If the Portland results are lackluster, McGrath says it will be tough to watch the other areas of the state come in.

It was a festive atmosphere upstairs at Bull Feeney’s, as about 100 Rowe supporters had drinks, nachos, cheese and crackers. Rowe was expected to be here any minute, after spending time at the polls, McGrath said.


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