With Republicans taking charge of the Legislature, many believe it is a foregone conclusion that the people the Republican caucus selects for the constitutional offices of attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer will be elected by the body.

The current officers, chosen by a Democrat-controlled Legislature, are expected to be on their way out.

Treasurer David Lemoine removed all doubt by circulating a letter to legislative leaders on both sides of the aisle asking that his name not even be placed into nomination by the Democrats.

“My decision reflects not only the likely result of the coming vote, but more importantly, what I see as the overriding public interest in securing a solid and seamless treasury leadership transition,” he wrote. “Such a transition could be unnecessarily difficult if conducted in the atmosphere of an unproductive election contest.”

Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he has yet to decide whether he would accept a Democratic nomination — though he, too, is realistic about his prospects.

“I think it’s kind of a done deal the Legislature elects the constitutional officers and that really translates into the majority party,” he said. “I’m not going to say I’m running, I’m not going to say I’m not running. I think it’s more or less a mathematical certainty that it will be a new secretary.”

Dunlap said he is preparing for a transition.

“I’m actually in the midst of cleaning out my office right now,” he said.

As for Attorney General Janet Mills, her office says she has not ruled out running again.

TURNOUT

Maine voter turnout was about 55 percent of registered voters on Nov. 2, according to unofficial results.

Official tallies will not be available until later in the month, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Matthew Dunlap, the secretary of state, had predicted that turnout would be 50 percent to 55 percent.

Maine has about 1 million registered voters. About 565,000 cast ballots on Election Day.

Maine’s population is about 1.3 million people.

TURNOVER

The Republican majority in the House increased by one Friday when Rep. Mike Willette, a re-elected Democrat from Presque Isle, announced that he was switching parties and joining the GOP.

“My constituents expect me to do my best to represent their interests in Augusta,” Willette said in a prepared statement. “The Maine Democrat agenda is too focused on the bidding of various special interests, to the detriment of the people of Presque Isle, and the people of Maine. I believe the Republican Party is best equipped to make the hard choices necessary to get Maine’s economy back on track, and that is why I will work with them to make sure my constituents are represented in the best way possible.”

Mike Willette is the father of another new legislator, Rep.-elect Alex Willette, a Republican from Mapleton.

The elder Willette, a Realtor, was elected as a Democrat in the 124th Legislature starting in 2008 and served on the State and Local Government Committee. He was the sponsor of a bill to help active-duty service members and overseas residents vote in Maine elections. It was signed into law on March 29.

With another Willette in the fold, the GOP majority in the 151-member House stands at six seats, 78-72 over the Democrats, with one member unenrolled.

PINGREE WIDENS MARGIN

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree was one of eight House Democrats who actually widened their margin of victory in 2010 from 2008, according to Smart Politics, a nonpartisan blog of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

“One of the more impressive Democratic performances came in Maine’s 1st Congressional District, held by freshman (U.S.) Rep. Chellie Pingree,” wrote Eric J. Ostermeier, a research associate at the center. “Pingree’s seat was viewed by some prognosticators as one of several dozen vulnerable Democratic districts in the nation. (Ranked as a ‘toss-up’ by Charlie Cook and ‘Democrat favored’ by Stuart Rothenberg). Even still, the congresswoman eclipsed her 9.2-point win in 2008 over Republican Charles Summers with a 13.6-point victory in 2010 over Dean Scontras.”

Others in the elite eight? Outgoing House speaker Nancy Pelosi.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan M. Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

[email protected]

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

[email protected]