BANGOR — Most polls are open today through 8 p.m. across Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, where voters are set to decide the primary candidates who will vie to replace Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in November.

Democrats Emily Cain and Troy Jackson are facing off for their party’s nomination, with Kevin Raye and Bruce Poliquin competing for the Republican nod. Independent conservative Blaine Richardson of Belfast has already qualified for the ballot.

Cain, a state senator from Orono, is favored to win the Democratic nomination: Last week, an environmental group that endorsed her released a poll showing her 35 percentage points up on Jackson, the Maine Senate majority leader from Allagash.

But the Raye-Poliquin race is harder to call. There has been no public polling, and the campaigns have conceded that the election would be tight.

“The voters will decide at 8 o’clock,” Poliquin said Tuesday morning while shaking hands with voters alongside Raye at the Cross Insurance Center, Bangor’s polling place. “It’s going to be close — very, very close.”

But Raye said he has had “a great past 10 days on the road” and feels good about his chances.

“I’ve been in every county and it’s been energizing and encouraging,” he said.

Raye, a former Maine Senate president from Perry, has run on a record of getting Republican reforms passed without alienating Democrats, while Poliquin has said he’s the true fiscal and social conservative in the race.

Cain and will be splitting their Election Day time in the Lewiston and Bangor areas, while Jackson will be mostly in the southern part of the district, around Lewiston.

Poliquin will end his day at an election results watch party in Bangor, while Cain and Raye will also have nighttime parties in the city. Jackson will be at his headquarters in downtown Lewiston at night.

Turnout, or lack thereof, will be a key factor in the races. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has projected that between 13 and 15 percent of voter-age people statewide will come out for the primary.
It could be more in the 2nd District, but 15 percent of those 18 and older in the district would equal about 80,000 voters, including both parties and independents voting on local elections and not in primaries.

But by 9 a.m. — a hour after polls opened — less than 10 residents in the Somerset County town of Pittsfield had showed up to vote.

Republican Donna Twombly was the sixth voter at the polls there. She said she voted for Raye because he is more moderate than Poliquin.

However, she said she has stopped voting for Republicans in general elections and said she probably won’t stay with Raye when he takes on Cain or Jackson in November.

“A wise man told me once that if you wish to have influence on a party that is least in agreement with you, then you should register in it so you can moderate it, because I’ve always been a moderate,” she said.

But Marie Rollins of Pittsfield is a lifelong Democrat — the only Republican she’s ever voted for was the late president and World War II hero Dwight Eisenhower, she said.
Rollins said she’s backing Cain partly because she’s a woman and she’s familiar with her legislative record.

“I think she’s honest and she’ll do as good a job as any of them,” she said.

This story will be updated.