State Rep. Mark Dion won Tuesday’s three-way Democratic primary race for a Senate seat representing parts of Portland and Westbrook.

“I very much appreciate the voters that came out and made the decision to vote. That’s the most important thing,” said Dion, tired and sunburned from the campaign.

Results from Portland and Westbrook in the race for Senate District 28 showed Dion with 43 percent, or 664 votes, followed by Duson with 39 percent, or 589 votes, and former state Rep. Ann Peoples with 17 percent, or 264 votes.

Dion will run in November against Republican Karen Usher of Westbrook, and will have a decided advantage in a district dominated by Democrats. The seat is currently held by Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell, who is retiring from politics.

Dion commended his opponents and said he hopes to continue working with them in the future on issues concerning Portland and Westbrook.

“We ran a very civil and professional campaign,” he said. “We were able to talk with each other both on and off the stage.”

Dion, 61, an attorney and the former Cumberland County sheriff, is serving his third term representing parts of Portland and Falmouth in the Maine House of Representatives.

Voters leaving the polls Tuesday at the Italian Heritage Center said they knew him as sheriff and liked him then.

“He has a great background and education,” said Rich Thompson, 68, who has continued to follow Dion’s work in Augusta. “I like the things he’s done up there.”

An early advocate for better access to medical marijuana, Dion last year submitted a bill to legalize recreational use of the drug for adults 21 and older.

He said before Tuesday’s election that he’d like to continue the work he’s started, including broadening the state’s portfolio of energy generation and revisiting a gun control bill that was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage.

Through May 31 he had raised $10,833, including a nearly $3,100 loan, and had spent all but $3,126.

Peoples, who also has served on Westbrook’s City Council and Planning Board, spent four terms in the Maine House until 2014, when she couldn’t run again because of term limits. She had raised just over $1,500 through May 31 and had spent all but $441.

“I felt she was the most progressive of those running,” Harlan Baker, 68, said about why he voted for Peoples.

Duson, who recently retired as compliance manager for the Maine Human Rights Commission, has spent 14 years on the Portland City Council and was twice appointed mayor by its other members. A Clean Elections candidate, Duson had raised $11,617 as of May 31 and had spent all but $62.

Voters noted her work as a councilor as their reason for supporting her.

“She really impressed me,” Jane Schulman, 79, said of meeting Duson. “It seems like she’s interested in doing a good job.”

Several voters said they liked all the candidates and could have supported any of them.

Eva Polin, 60, however, felt the opposite way. “I voted for my 17-year-old son,” she said. “I figured he could do as good a job.”

 

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