LEWISTON — Ballots cast in Lewiston on Election Day largely reflected the statewide results still rolling in Wednesday, with the city choosing Janet Mills for governor and re-electing Angus King to the U.S. Senate.
The city also favored Lewiston native Jared Golden for Congress in a race that is still too close to call, and may eventually be decided by ranked-choice voting.
Here is a quick glance at the election results from Lewiston, and a few interesting takeaways from Maine’s second-largest city:
Those who turned out in Lewiston on Tuesday chose Mills for governor over Republican Shawn Moody by a margin of 7,052 to 5,496. Independent Terry Hayes of Buckfield had 962 votes.
For U.S. Senate, King received 6,991 votes to Republican Eric Brakey’s 4,637. Democrat Zak Ringelstein received 1,941 votes in Lewiston.
In the race for U.S. Congress in Maine’s 2nd District, Lewiston chose Democrat Golden over incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin by a margin of 7,453 to 5,095. Independent candidates Tiffany Bond and William Hoar received 815 and 222 votes, respectively.
In local Maine House and Senate races, Lewiston’s Nate Libby won re-election to Senate District 21, with the city voting 8,164 for Libby over Nelson Peters, who received 5,366 votes.
Democrats rolled to victory in other legislative districts in Lewiston, with James Handy, Margaret Craven, Kristen Cloutier and Heidi Brooks all winning in House Districts 58, 59, 60 and 61, respectively.
For Cloutier, the current City Council president in Lewiston, it means there will be a one-year overlap between her terms on the council and in the Legislature. Libby, a former Lewiston councilor, did the same when he was elected to the Maine Senate.
In the referendum question on universal home care, which failed by a fairly wide margin statewide, it was much closer in Lewiston. It was voted down 7,483 to 6,192.
Ward 6 anomaly
Looking at the numbers in Lewiston, each ward presented a different view on statewide races, including in Ward 6, which went for every Republican on the ticket.
Ward 6, representing the largest land area and most rural district in Lewiston, voted for Brakey, Moody and Poliquin. The ward also voted for the controversial Republican candidate Seth Carey for district attorney of Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties. Carey won by a single vote in the ward, 764-763.
Lewiston ultimately voted for current district attorney, Andrew Robinson, by a margin of 8,207 to 4,930.
Republican Mayor Shane Bouchard said Wednesday there were a couple surprises in Tuesday’s voting, referring to the Democrats’ gains. But, he said, it is “time to go to work with the people the residents voted for and do what’s best for Lewiston.”
Overall, voter turnout in Lewiston was 52 percent, with 13,870 of 26,896 registered voters casting ballots. That rate was on par with midterm elections in 2014 and 2010. The 2010 election, the first midterm election under President Barack Obama, had the same 52 percent turnout in Lewiston.
The percentage was higher in 2014, at 58 percent.
Similar to other polling locations across Maine, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said, there were some lines at Lewiston polls at certain times of the day, with most of the lines coming as voters waited to insert their ballots into the voting machine.
Montejo said she did not receive complaints about the lines, with many commenting that they were pleased to see the large turnout.
“Many voters commented it was the first time they had seen lines at the ballot box,” Montejo said Wednesday. “Lewiston did not experience any problems yesterday with our voting machines, ballots or procedures at the polls.
“I believe it all went smoothly, thanks to the 150 dedicated citizen election workers that we hire and train to work at the polls.”
Early voting and absentee voting was also utilized in Lewiston, with 4,883 of 13,870 votes submitted early or absentee.
In Auburn, voters also chose Mills, King and Golden.
Brakey of Auburn lost to King by a tally of 4,845 to 3,813. Ringelstein received 862 votes.
Brakey’s vacated state Senate seat, in District 20, also played an instrumental role in Democrats taking control of the Maine Senate on Tuesday, with Republican candidate Ellie Espling losing to Democrat Ned Claxton 8,957 to 8,751.
District 20 includes portions of Auburn, Mechanic Falls, Minot, New Gloucester and Poland.
Mills bested Moody 4,578 to 4,232, while Hayes, whose election headquarters was in Auburn, received 700 votes.
Auburn also chose Golden over Poliquin 4,838 to 3,974. Bond and Hoar received 593 and 188 votes, respectively.
Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, a Republican, said he was not surprised by the statewide results Tuesday, with “good candidates on both sides up and down the ticket.” But he said he was surprised by the amount of “false and misleading ads deployed either by candidates or outside groups” leading up to the election.
“This election should make every candidate, regardless of outcome, feel a bit dirty and embarrassed by the low level our discourse has achieved,” he said.
Voters wait to cast their ballots in the mid-term election, Tuesday, Nov. 6, in Lewiston. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
The polls Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Longley Elementary School in Lewiston seemed unusually busy, according to election workers. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)