Democrats appear poised to retain control of the Maine Legislature, based on Tuesday’s unofficial election returns. And while Republicans managed to flip at least three seats in the House of Representatives, Democrats gained a seat and won a key victory in the Senate by beating the Republican minority leader.

Final results were still trickling in Wednesday, but Democrats appear to have won at least 80 of the 151 seats in the House and 22 of the 35 seats in the Senate, based on returns from about 85 percent of precincts as of 6:30 p.m.

Of the wins for Democrats, 22 seats in the House went to candidates with no opposition, while Republicans won 10 seats without opposition. Republicans also bested Democratic incumbents in at least three other House races. Democrats also won two uncontested seats in the Senate, both in Portland.

In a key upset, first-term Rep. Chloe Maxmin, a Nobleboro Democrat, defeated Senate Minority Leader Dana Dow, a Republican from Waldoboro. But Democrats also took some hits in both the House and Senate.

Incumbent Sen. Michael Carpenter, D-Houlton, was about 1,500 votes behind state Rep. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, in the race for Senate District 2 in Maine’s far northern Aroostook County, with 37 of 49 precincts reporting, according to the latest returns from the Associated Press.

Carpenter, a former Maine Attorney General, was seeking his third consecutive term while Stewart, who is currently the Assistant House Minority Leader, is completing his second term.

In southern Maine, state Rep. Anne Carney, D-Cape Elizabeth, handily won the open race for state Senate District 29 against Republican Stephanie Anderson, a former and long-serving Cumberland County District Attorney. The district includes Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and parts of Scarborough. Results showed Carney winning by a 2-to-1 margin.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Rebecca Millett, D-Cape Elizabeth, who was serving her fourth consecutive term and term limited in the Senate. But in a seat switch, Millett was elected to Carney’s House District 30 seat, capturing 70 percent of the vote over her Republican opponent.

Meanwhile, Republicans took out at least five Democratic incumbents, including in House Districts in Androsccoggin, Franklin and Somerset counties.

Tuesday’s elections also saw the return to the Legislature of some well-known Maine political figures, including Rick Bennett, an Oxford Republican. Bennett, a former Maine Republican Party chairman, previously served in the Senate. He also ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012, but lost his party’s nomination to former Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers, who went on to be defeated by former independent Gov. Angus King.

In another unusual election, voters in House District 27, which includes parts of Gorham and Scarborough, elected Democrat Kyle Bailey of Gorham over Republican Roger Densmore. The seat is currently held by Bailey’s husband, Rep. Andrew McLean, who is term limited. Bailey is also well known for his work as an advocate for Maine’s ranked-choice voting laws.

The Senate District 9 seat was won handily by Democrat Joe Baldacci, an attorney who also served two terms as Bangor’s mayor and a member of the city council. The district includes parts of Bangor and Herman. Baldacci is the brother of former Maine Gov. John Baldacci, also a Democrat.

Current caucus leaders from both parties issued congratulatory statements Wednesday.

“I’m grateful to every person who sought to represent their communities in this unusual time, and I am excited to serve with each member who won their seat,” Rep. Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, said.

House Minority Leader Kathleen Dillingham, an Oxford Republican, said she was encouraged by the Republican victories Tuesday.

“Maine took a major step in the right direction last night,” Dillingham said. “Voters sent a strong message that they expect House Republicans to be included in decisions that affect their lives.”

Dillingham said several races were also close enough where she expected recounts would be called for.

Dillingham and Fecteau were both re-elected on Tuesday.

House Republicans were expected to elect their new caucus leaders Friday, while Democrats will make their leadership decisions next week.


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