The Associated Press is projecting that state Sen. Cynthia Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, has won her party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate, while Secretary of State Chariie Summers captured the Democratic nomination.

With 76 percent of precincts reporting statewide by midnight, both Dill and Summers had substantial and growing leads in their races.

“I think we’ve proven that you can run a campaign positively,” Dill said after claiming the victory. “We’ll be friends going forward,” she said, referring to the other three Democratic candidates.

Looking ahead to the fall campaign, Dill added, “to Angus King, bring it on baby,” referring to the former governor who is running as an independent and leading in early polls.

Dill dismissed suggestions that it might be hard to raise money in a race where King is expected to draw more support from Democrats than Republicans.

“Fundraising will always be a challenge for Democrats when you’re facing Republicans and their Super PACs,” she said, adding that King had created “an interruption in the campaign by diluting money and separtating votes.”


Dill’s closest competitor, former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, took an early lead in the race when the results from small towns in northern Maine came in first. But as soon as votes from southern and central Maine started to come in, Dill grabbed the lead and never let go. As of midnight, DIll led Dunlap by 44 percent to 35 percent, with state Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, and carpenter Benjamin Pollard far behind.

In the GOP primary, Secretary of State Charlie Summers was named the winner by AP shortly before midnight.

He led his closest competitor, State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, by 29 percent to 22 percent, with four other candidates well behind.

Poliquins aid he wasn’t quite ready to throw in the towel, but Rick Bennett, a former state Senate president, and  Attorney General Bruce Schneider both conceded earlier in the evening.

Campaign staffers and volunteers at Summers’ post-primary party in South Portland said they were expecting Poliquin to call to concede the race. However, when Poliquin spoke to supporters around 11 p.m., he said he wasn’t going to concede yet, even though “it does not look like it is going well for us.”

Poliquin called Summers “a terrific candidate,” but also said he will “push him and pull him to the right” if Summers wins.


“If we come up a little bit short, we must stay engaged,” Poliquin said.

Bennett said will continue to push his campaign message — to “take our country and our party back” from special-interest groups.

“I don’t know how and I don’t know where, but I will remain in this fight, and I hope you will, too,” Bennett said.

The candidates are all vying to replace Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who announced in late February that she would not run for a fourth term in the Senate.

Summers arrived at his campaign reception at the Maine Military Museum in South Portland at 9 p.m. and kissed his wife, Ruth, who won her uncontested Republican state Senate primary in Scarborough.

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