Sen. Ben Chipman in 2018. Jill Brady/Portland Press Herald

State Sen. Ben Chipman has withdrawn from a three-way race for the Democratic nomination to represent part of Portland in the Maine House of Representatives.

The announcement came the day before voters are set to cast ballots in the race and other state primaries on Tuesday, and it wasn’t clear why Chipman decided to drop out of the House race.

Chipman is prevented by term limits from running for the Senate again and has been actively campaigning for the open House seat, knocking on doors as recently as this past weekend.

“After much consideration, I have decided to withdraw from the House District 118 campaign,” Chipman said in a written statement. “I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the voters of Portland and all of my volunteers for their unwavering support over the last 15 years since I was first elected in 2009.

“I believe the voters have two strong candidates in Herb Adams and Yusuf Yusuf to choose from. Moving forward, I am committed to using my extensive skills and experience to continue serving and helping the city of Portland.”

Chipman did not respond to a follow-up email or voicemail message asking why he is dropping out, why he made the decision the day before the primary election and what his future plans are. The move was announced by the Maine Department of the Secretary of State in a statement early Monday afternoon.


It leaves two candidates in the Democratic primary in House District 118: Adams, a former state representative; and Yusuf, a former Portland school board member.

The seat, which is currently held by House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, is open because Talbot Ross is prevented from running again due to term limits and is instead seeking Chipman’s seat in the Maine Senate.

In a statement, the secretary of state’s office said Chipman notified Secretary of State Shenna Bellows on Monday that he would be withdrawing from the race.

The state’s Division of Elections then notified the Portland city clerk and posted a notice on the secretary of state’s website.

According to Maine election law, a candidate’s name cannot be removed from the ballot when they withdraw from a primary election less than 70 days before the election.

A notice of late withdrawal will be posted outside the guardrail and in each voting booth at the appropriate polling locations, the secretary of state’s office said. The notice will inform voters that the candidate has withdrawn and that a vote for that candidate will not be counted.


Chipman, 48, is currently wrapping up his fourth term in the Maine Senate. He also served as a state representative from 2010 to 2016 and has been in office in Augusta continuously since 2010. In an interview last month, he said his experience distinguished him from his opponents and was the reason voters should reelect him.

Adams also served four terms in the Maine House, from 2002 to 2010, while Yusuf is a newcomer to state politics who served on the Portland Public Schools board from 2020 to 2023.

“I extend thanks to Sen. Chipman for his state service in difficult times, and a handshake to Mr. Yusuf, for a gentlemanly last few days of this campaign,” Adams said.

Yusuf said Monday afternoon that he had just learned Chipman was dropping out and had no immediate comment.

Yusuf, who is running a traditionally financed campaign, has outraised Chipman and Adams, both of whom registered as clean elections candidates. Yusuf has raised more than $8,300 to date while Chipman has raised $4,125 and Adams has raised $3,525, according to campaign finance reports.

No Republican or unenrolled candidates have filed to run for the seat, so the winner of the Democratic primary will win the overall race in November barring a challenge from a write-in candidate.

Because there were originally more than two candidates, the primary had been set to be conducted using ranked choice voting.

The ballot design will not change with Chipman’s withdrawal, nor will the printout of the tabulator tape, the secretary of state’s office said. However, only Adams and Yusuf will be listed on the return of votes cast and the official tabulation.

Any absentee votes already cast for Chipman will be treated and reported as blanks. And since the race is no longer a three-candidate race, only the first rankings will be tabulated.

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