AUGUSTA, Maine — Earlier this 12 months, former state consultant Corey Wilson walked as much as the door of a voter who was precisely the sort he wanted to return to the Maine legislature.
Like the candidate, the person was a army veteran. He left the Republican Party after Donald Trump turned President. The man instructed Wilson he knew all of his positions on necessary points and so they agreed on all of them, however he made a pact to vote in opposition to all Republicans in 2022.
“I’ll vote for you next cycle, but not this time,” Wilson instructed the person. “I want to send a message.”
Wilson misplaced a swing home district in Winthrop and Readfield to Rep. Tavis Hasenfus, D-Winthrop, in a end result that summed up an excellent choose for Maine Democrats final week. Gov. Janet Mills routed former Gov. Paul LePage, 2nd Circuit Rep. Jared Golden will maintain his seat and Democrats have retained the legislature after many predicted large Republican features.
The outcomes have been notable as a result of Democrats have been serving throughout a midterm election for unpopular President Joe Biden at a time of excessive inflation. It was overshadowed by Trump’s proposal to announce a 3rd presidential candidacy on Tuesday. Both that and the outcomes are inflicting Maine Republicans to rethink their flag-bearers.
Republicans had been betting closely that the troubled economic system would cause them to victory, and a nationwide exit ballot performed by the Associated Press confirmed that was the highest situation on voters’ minds, though virtually as many mentioned democracy’s future was after Trump was within the foreground and different get together members falsely claimed the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
Wilson, who was elected to 1 time period within the House of Representatives in 2012 and represented half of Augusta however didn’t run for re-election and now lives in Readfield, is an atypical Republican. He campaigned for gun rights within the State House. He additionally defied LePage to help Medicaid growth. While personally against abortion, he helps the correct to abortion on the grounds of non-public freedom.
He acquired many personal messages from constituents asking his place on the difficulty after the US Supreme Court Roe v. Wade lifted in June. The candidate attributed Tuesday’s outcomes to a “silent majority” of voters, together with many in the midst of the voters, who have been postpone by the consensus of Republican social positions and Trump-style refusal to vote.
“There was no question that Donald Trump did a lot of damage,” he mentioned. “I think Republicans need to wake up and realize that if the Republican Party is led by Donald Trump, it’s not going anywhere.”
Republican leaders in Maine have been quiet since Election Day. The state get together has “collected intelligence” and can produce a daily report on strengths and weaknesses, Jason Savage, the manager director, mentioned in a press release.
Neither LePage nor Poliquin have spoken publicly since their election night time conferences. The former governor delivered a bitter speech to supporters wherein he referred to as Mills elitist and complained that voters prioritized abortion rights over “feeding your families” and the price of heating oil.
“I’m telling you, I should never have gone into politics,” he mentioned.
There are well-known parallels between LePage and Trump. LePage in contrast his type to Trump’s when endorsing him in 2016. He led the previous president’s Maine 2020 marketing campaign. But LePage balked at Trump earlier than that election, by no means saying if he thought a return of the White House in 2024 was a good suggestion.
The subsequent presidential election has clouded debate amongst Republicans over the Maine election outcomes. Many within the get together are grateful for Trump’s tenure, however different potential candidates like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis might broaden the previous president’s base, Matthew Gagnon, the CEO of the conservative Maine Policy Institute, mentioned on his WGAN present.
Mills bested LePage by 13 proportion factors, delivering a shellac within the rising Portland suburbs that was essential to earlier LePage wins. For instance, he gained Scarborough in 2014 by 6 factors. Trump misplaced 16 factors in 2016 and 29 factors in 2020. This time, LePage misplaced an unbelievable 33 factors.
“For heaven’s sake you have to find a way to combine that with being able to approach a guy who lives in Yarmouth,” Gagnon mentioned of Trump’s enchantment to working-class voters.
Maine Republicans will want new flag bearers. US Senator Susan Collins is the final senior elected member of the get together. She has constantly gained majorities in Maine however was not an element within the election right here, having campaigned final Sunday in Pennsylvania with Mehmet Oz, the tv doctor-turned Senate nominee who misplaced to Democrat John Fetterman.
LePage, who’s 74, is extensively anticipated to go away the stage. Its strategist, Brent Littlefield, didn’t reply questions about whether or not the previous Florida resident would proceed to dwell right here or proceed to be concerned in Maine middle-class life. While Poliquin goes to a ranked choose with Golden, the incumbent is predicted to simply prevail. After that, Poliquin may have misplaced 4 of the Maine campaigns he has led since 2010.
Legislative Republicans shake up leaders. Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle, will chair his caucus after Poliquin ousted him from a 2nd Circuit bid. Five House Republicans — Auburn’s Laurel Libby, Turner’s Josh Morris, Winter Harbor’s Billy Bob Faulkingham, Madison’s Jack Ducharme and Chelsea’s Michael Lemelin — are preventing for first place.
The get together’s flagships, messages and social-conservative platform should be modified, mentioned former House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, an lawyer representing Newport. He in contrast the get together’s scenario to an organization that burns cash.
“We could see the death of the Republican Party as we know it in Maine,” he mentioned.