Cities and towns across Maine, including Portland, will conduct primary elections on Tuesday, when voters will have the first opportunity to throw their support behind the state’s next governor, pick a Republican to challenge the Democratic incumbent who represents Maine’s 2nd Congressional District in November, and choose a Democrat who will be unopposed in November to serve as Cumberland County district attorney.

Primary elections determine each political party’s nomination of candidates for federal, state and county offices. Candidates who are elected at the primary will appear on the Nov. 8 general election ballot.

According to the Maine Secretary of State’s Office, positions that will be represented in the 2022 primary election include governor, both U.S. House of Representatives districts, all 35 state Senate districts, all 151 Maine House districts, and a number of county offices: judge of probate, register of probate, county treasurer, register of deeds, sheriff, district attorney and county commissioner.

In many Maine communities, such as Portland, there will be special local elections and school budget validation votes on Tuesday.

Twelve candidates are seeking three vacant seats in a special Portland school board election on Tuesday. Portland chooses its school board members through ranked-choice voting. The RCV system requires that candidates who receive more than 50 percent of the votes be declared the winner. Voters rank candidates by preference so that instant runoffs can he held if no candidate tops 50 percent in the initial count.

Seven candidates are running for two open at-large seats representing the city as a whole and five are running to represent District Five, which includes North Deering, part of Deering Center and Riverton and eight of the district’s 17 schools. While Portland typically elects municipal and school leaders in November, the nine-member board has three unexpired terms to fill. The winners of the at-large seats will serve until November 2022, finishing the three-year terms of Anna Trevorrow and Roberto Rodriguez, who left their posts in November after winning City Council seats. The winner of the District Five seat will serve until November 2023, filling the seat of school board member Jeff Irish, who resigned in October.


In one of the most high-profile primary races conducted in southern Maine, incumbent District Attorney Jonathan T. Sahrbeck will try to fend off Jacqueline Sartoris. Both are Democrats, but the winner will likely become Cumberland County’s next chief prosecutor because there are no Republican candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

Sahrbeck, who won the last election in 2018 as an independent, is now a Democrat. Jackie Sartoris, a Brunswick resident who works as an assistant district attorney in Kennebec County, has questioned whether Sahrbeck’s party affiliation change was genuine, citing the fact that Sahrbeck was a registered Republican for most of his adult life before the 2018 election. Sahrbeck said that he decided to enroll in the party after speaking to other Democratic district attorneys and learning he shared the same values.

Sahrbeck’s decision to switch parties also is getting criticized by an outside group that has invested a massive sum of money in what is typically a low-budget election. A political action committee financed with a $300,000 donation from national Democratic donor George Soros is acting independently of Sartoris. Flyers being sent to voters call Sahrbeck a “flip-flopping” district attorney who “only became a Democrat just in time to run for re-election.”

In another potentially hotly contested race for the Republican nomination to represent the 2nd Congressional District, Bruce Poliquin will face off against newcomer Liz Caruso of Caratunk. Poliquin’s name hasn’t appeared on a state ballot since 2018.

The Republican primary winner will take on two-term U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, a 39-year-old Lewiston Democrat, and Tiffany Bond, 45, a Portland independent, in the Nov. 8 general election. Golden won the job four years ago by narrowly defeating Poliquin in the first ranked-choice election held for a federal elected office.

Caruso, 52, is viewed by political pundits as the underdog, but they have not ruled out an upset. Poliquin’s campaign took public notice of Caruso for the first time after Memorial Day to issue a blistering email assailing Caruso, a move she cited as evidence that he is “freaking out and scared” that she might win on Tuesday.


Poliquin, a 68-year-old from Orrington with far more campaign cash than his opponent, is considered a safe bet by party leaders to defeat Caruso, who has been hampered by an inability to reach many Republican voters and a distinct lack of name recognition in much of the sprawling district, which is among the most rural in America and the largest east of the Mississippi River.

Though voters will see some familiar names on Tuesday’s primary ballot for governor and 1st Congressional District, they will have to wait until November before their votes will make a difference.

Republican Paul R. LePage of Edgecomb is running unopposed for the Republican Party nomination to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet T. Mills of Farmington, who is also running unopposed in Tuesday’s primary.

Incumbent 1st District U.S. Rep. Chellie M. Pingree of North Haven is running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination, as is her Republican challenger, Edwin Thelander of Bristol.

Incumbent Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce of Standish is running unopposed for the Democratic Party nomination, as is Paul Aranson of Scarborough for judge of probate. There are no Republicans running for either post in Cumberland County.

Most municipal polling places will remain open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m., although the hours could vary from town to town.

A statewide  list of polling places and times is available at:

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: