AUGUSTA (AP) — The four candidates hoping to fill Maine’s open congressional seat were making their final appeals to voters Tuesday as the clock wound down on primary races that have pitted political firebrands against candidates calling themselves consensus-builders.

Liberal dealmaker Emily Cain and working-class advocate Troy Jackson squared off on the Democratic ticket. Jackson, a state senator and logger, has accused Cain of being too eager to compromise her party’s values.

On the GOP side, conservative Bruce Poliquin, a former state treasurer and tea party favorite, has lobbed the same accusation at his opponent, establishment Republican Kevin Raye.

Both Cain and Raye counter that their opponents’ “my-way-or-the-highway” approaches won’t work in Congress.

Republicans viewed the departure of Rep. Mike Michaud, who’s leaving to run for governor, as a prime opportunity to reclaim the seat Democrats have held for 20 years.

The campaigns emphasized their get-out-the-vote efforts in a low-turnout election in which there were no contested statewide races.


“Turnout is pretty light, and that’s not a stunning surprise,” said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, who was visiting polling sites from Old Town to Portland.

The four 2nd District candidates continued campaigning up until the last minute.

Cain, a University of Maine employee who served alongside Jackson in the Legislature, visited polling places in Lewiston before heading up to Orono and Bangor.

Jackson was spending most of Tuesday in Auburn and Lewiston. His campaign says he is focusing his efforts there because the winner of Androscoggin County usually takes the election and because neither Democrat has roots there.

Raye, a former Senate president who also served as chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, visited Lewiston and Bangor on Tuesday. Poliquin also was in Bangor on Tuesday.

Uncontested primaries for the 1st Congressional District seat, U.S. Senate race and three-way governor’s race accounted for the low voter turnout. Dunlap expected 13 to 15 percent of eligible voters to make it to the polls.

But voter participation could spike in Augusta and Portland, which have contentious local referendums, he said.

On the Augusta ballot was a bond referendum to support the renovation of the city’s historic public library. Portland voters were considering a measure that would add 35 open spaces to the city’s list of protected lands and make it more difficult to sell them.

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