Democratic incumbent Benjamin Chipman held a strong lead over challenger Crystal Canney in Portland’s Senate 27 race late Tuesday night.

With five of nine precincts reporting, Chipman had 76 percent of the vote as of 11:45 p.m.

First-time candidate Canney, who worked for Democratic Gov. John Baldacci and independent U.S. Sen. Angus King, ran as an independent.

Chipman is finishing his first term as senator, after serving three terms as a representative. Both are Clean Elections candidates.

Canney, a communications professional, said she believed her professional experience and her upbringing in rural Maine will put her in a better position to build relationships and coalitions with Republicans and rural legislators who often view Portland with hostility.

Both candidates said they would work to expand Medicare in Maine and look for ways to increase funding for public schools is needed.

Chipman, an independent notary who conducts title closings, said he has been working with welfare directors throughout the state on a bill that would ensure that other Maine communities are taking care of their own residents. He plans to re-introduce a bill that was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage to establish homelessness as an emergency and make it clear that each town has an obligation to use General Assistance funds to house residents in need of emergency shelter.

The race has been among the more expensive legislative contests. Chipman raised $65,900 and Canney raised $55,500, according to the latest report posted by the Maine Ethics Commission.

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