AUGUSTA (AP) – The 35-member Maine Senate stands to have 19 new faces when it convenes Dec. 1, but looks can be deceiving.

New, in this case, is a relative term. Seven of the nine new Democrats and seven of the 10 new Republicans have served in the Legislature before.

Three Democrats – Nancy Sullivan of Biddeford, Scott Cowger of Hallowell and Joseph Perry of Bangor – and five Republicans – Mary Andrews of York, Richard Rosen of Bucksport, Lois Snowe-Mello of Poland, Jonathan Courtney of Springvale and Peter Mills of Skowhegan – are coming into the Senate straight from the House.

Incoming veterans from past legislatures in include Democrats Barry Hobbins of Saco, William Diamond of Windham, John Nutting of Leeds and Elizabeth Mitchell of Vassalboro and Republicans Debra Plowman of Hampden and Dean Clukey of Houlton.

Democrats hold an 18-17 edge among the senators-elect. That is the same numerical division between Democrats and Republicans that prevailed for the last two years.

The situation in the new House of Representatives is more uncertain for now.

Preliminary tallies give Democrats a bare majority of 76 in the 151-member House. Republicans seem to have taken 73 seats, with one going to a Green Independent and one to a candidate not enrolled in any party.

Two years ago, statewide elections produced a House with Democrats holding 80 seats and Republicans 67, with three going to independents and one to a Green.

But more than half a dozen recounts are expected. Requests may be made through Tuesday.

As of today, the new House will include seven former members returning after an absence. Four are Democrats: Herbert Clark of Millinocket, Charles Fisher of Brewer, Michael McAlevey of Waterboro and John Tuttle of Sanford. The three Republicans who served previously and are now ready to return are David Ott of York, Stedman Seavey of Kennebunkport and Vaughn Stedman of Hartland.

If tentative House results hold, the number of women elected to the chamber will drop to 33, down from 37 elected last time. The new Senate will also have fewer women – 11 – than the number who served for the last two years – 13.

Among departing senators is Senate President Beverly Daggett of Augusta, the first woman to serve in that post. Succeeding Daggett as a senator in the Augusta area is Mitchell, who is the only woman to have been elected speaker of the Maine House.

Pending recounts, the new 151-member House would have 93 current members coming back. Fifty-one new members could be classified as true freshmen; that is, first-term representatives without previous legislative experience, according to a House tally.

For a second consecutive term, both houses of the Legislature are expected to be in Democratic control alongside a Democratic governor.

Until Gov. John Baldacci entered the Blaine House in 2003, no party had amassed that level of State House dominance since the time of Democratic Gov. Joseph Brennan in the 1980s.



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