Tagmaine

Stories about Maine

Five candidates file to run for U.S. House in Maine

The filing deadline for candidates running for state or federal office in Maine was March 15. This year, five candidates are running for Maine’s two U.S. House districts, including three Republicans and two Democrats. That’s 2.5 candidates per seat, down from 3 candidates per seat in 2020 and 5 per seat in 2018.

Here are some other highlights from this year’s filings:

  • This is the first election to take place under new district lines following the 2020 census. Maine was apportioned two seats, the same number it was apportioned after the 2010 census.
  • Neither of Maine’s two U.S. House seats are open this year, with incumbents Chellie Pingree (D) and Jared Golden (D) both running for re-election.
  • The last time a U.S. House seat in Maine was open was in 2014, when Mike Michaud (D) ran for governor rather than run for re-election in the 2nd District.
  • Neither Pingree nor Golden faces a primary challenger; the three other candidates who filed for U.S. House are all Republicans.

Maine’s U.S. House primaries will take place June 14. Although Maine uses ranked-choice voting for primaries, the only contested primary (the Republican primary in the 2nd District) has two candidates running, meaning there will not be multiple rounds of vote-counting and whichever candidate wins the most first-round votes will win the primary outright.

Additional reading:



Voters in Augusta, Maine approve $4.5 million in bonds for fire and emergency services capital improvements

Voters in Augusta, Maine approved a bond measure on March 22 that authorizes the city to issue $4,455,000 in bonds to fund fire and emergency services capital improvements and city infrastructure. The vote margin was 71.2% to 28.8%. A simple majority vote was required to approve the measure.

The city charter authorizes the Augusta City Council to borrow up to $750,000 without voter approval. Anything greater must be submitted to voters for approval.

The Augusta City Council voted to refer the bond measure to the ballot on Jan. 20, 2022, by a vote of 6-0. At the same meeting, the council also approved $750,000 in bonds for rescue equipment and other infrastructure projects. The total bond project was $5.2 million.

In 2022, Ballotpedia is covering local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest cities in the U.S., all state capitals, and throughout the state of California. Ballotpedia is also covering a selection of notable police-related and election-related measures outside of the top 100 largest cities.



Voters in Augusta, Maine will decide on one bond question on March 22

Voters in Augusta, Maine will decide whether to authorize the city to issue $4,455,000 in bonds to fund capital improvements to fire services, city streets, and city facilities on March 22. 

The city charter authorizes the Augusta City Council to borrow up to $750,000 without voter approval. Anything greater must be submitted to voters for approval.

The Augusta City Council voted to refer the bond measure to the ballot on Jan. 20, 2022, by a vote of 6-0. At the same meeting, councilors also approved $750,000 in bonds for rescue equipment and other infrastructure projects. The total bond project was $5.2 million.

A majority vote is required to approve the bond measure.

City Councilor Linda Conti said, “I want to say to everybody who hates to borrow money, because I hate to borrow money too, that this is an investment in the city and we have a great credit rating, so don’t be afraid. This is not something we lightly undertake, and we need to do this.”

In 2021, Augusta voters approved a bond measure that authorized the city to issue up to $20,477,655 in bonds to fund land acquisition for the construction of a police station. It was approved with 84.35% of the vote.

On election day, polls will be open from 7:00 am to 8:00 pm. Absentee ballots can be submitted until 8:00 pm on election day.

In 2022, Ballotpedia is covering local measures that appear on the ballot for voters within the top 100 largest U.S. cities and state capitals, such as Augusta, Maine, and throughout the state of California.

Additional reading:



Maine initiative signature deadline passes with no signatures submitted; campaigns target 2023 ballot

The Maine 2022 signature deadline for citizen-initiated measures was Jan. 30. None of the six active campaigns submitted signatures; however, the campaigns have an 18 month circulation period allowing the campaigns to target ballots in 2023. 

The six initiatives concern

  • requiring a law to establish a publicly funded health coverage program;
  • creating a consumer-owned electric transmission and distribution utility called the Pine Tree Power Company;
  • prohibiting foreign spending in elections in Maine and calling for a federal constitutional amendment;
  • requiring a voter to present photo identification before voting;
  • requiring a two-thirds legislative vote to extend the governor’s emergency declaration beyond 30 days; and
  • mandating voter approval of borrowing above $1 billion by state entities and electric cooperatives.

Our Power, the campaign behind the Pine Tree Power Company initiative, announced that it was shifting its efforts from placing the initiative on the ballot in 2022 to 2023. Stephanie Clifford, Our Power’s campaign manager, said, “We’re in it for the long run and forging ahead until we get the job done. Every signature is valid for twelve months, and our ongoing efforts will soon give Mainers a choice.” 

Maine Healthcare Action, the campaign behind the publicly funded health coverage initiative, released a similar statement that said, “With Covid-19 cases surging in the state, we’ve decided we need a little more time to gather the remaining signatures we need to put this important issue of Universal Healthcare to Maine voters.” The campaign reported they had collected 40,000 signatures as of Dec. 31, 2021.

With the campaigns shifting their efforts to 2023, the number of required signatures will also change for four of the initiatives with circulation deadlines that fall after the 2022 gubernatorial election. In Maine, the signature requirement for citizen-initiated measures is 10% of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election prior to the filing of a petition. The 2022 gubernatorial election will determine the number of signatures required for those petitions that do not file before Nov. 8, 2022. 

For petitions filing before the 2022 gubernatorial election, the requirement is 63,067 valid signatures. The filing deadline for the petition related to healthcare is June 3, 2022. The filing deadline for the petition related to the governor’s emergency order is July 25, 2022.

Between 1985 and 2021, Maine voters approved 79% (117 of 149) of the ballot measures appearing on even and odd-numbered year ballots.

Additional reading:



Maine Question 1’s support and opposition campaigns raised $99.6 million, totaling $241.75 per vote

On Nov. 2, voters approved Maine Question 1, which prohibited the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). The ballot initiative also required a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission line projects. The NECEC is a planned 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine.

Question 1 support and opposition campaigns raised a total of $99.62 million. Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history. As 412,086 people voted on the ballot measure, the cost-per-vote was $241.75.

No CMP Corridor led the campaign in support of Question 1. The PACs Mainers for Local Power and NRCM Yes on Question 1 were also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.65 million, including $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine; $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine. ‘Yes’ on Question 1 received 243,943 votes, providing a support campaign cost-per-vote of $113.33. 

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, Mainers for Fair Laws, and Mainers for Clean Energy Jobs PAC were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $71.97 million, including $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and $20.59 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec. ‘No’ on Question 1 received 168,143 votes, providing a support campaign cost-per-vote of $428.06. 

Maine Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure of 2021 and had the highest cost-per-vote. Since 2016, Question 1 had the highest cost-per-vote total and highest cost-per-vote for a single campaign due to the opposition’s contributions received. In 2020, the highest cost-per-vote was $65.48 for Alaska Ballot Measure 1, which addressed oil taxes. Prior to Maine Question 1, the highest cost-per-vote for a campaign since 2016 was $163.97. That 2017 campaign supported a Maine ballot initiative to authorize a casino in York County, Maine. Voters rejected that ballot measure.

Additional reading:



Three candidates file for Maine House special election

Political parties had until Nov. 29 to nominate candidates to run in the special election for District 27 of the Maine House of Representatives. The unaffiliated candidate filing deadline also passed on the same day. James Boyle (D) and Timothy Thorsen (R) were both nominated by their respective political parties to run in the Jan. 11 special election. Suzanne Phillips also filed to run as an unenrolled candidate. The filing deadline for write-in candidates is Dec. 6.

Boyle previously served in the Maine state Senate from 2012 to 2014. He was defeated in his re-election bid in 2014. Thorsen is a retired Marine Corps colonel and works as a project management professional for a manufacturing and construction company in Sanford, Maine. Phillips currently serves as a Gorham Town Council member.

The winner of the special election will serve until December 2022. The seat became vacant after Kyle Bailey (D) resigned on Oct. 15 to pursue another job opportunity. He was elected to the state House in 2020 with 59% of the vote.

Democrats currently have an 80-65 majority in the Maine House with five third-party members and one vacancy. Maine has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of November, 10 state legislative special elections have been scheduled to take place in 2022. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Maine held 15 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional reading:



Filing deadline to pass for Maine House special election on Nov. 29

Political parties have until Nov. 29 to nominate candidates to run in the special election for District 27 of the Maine House of Representatives. The special election will be held on Jan. 11. Republicans have nominated Marine Corps veteran Tim Thorsen, and Democrats have picked former state Sen. Jim Boyle to run for the seat. The unaffiliated candidate filing deadline will also pass on Nov. 29.

The winner of the special election will serve until December 2022. The seat became vacant after Kyle Bailey (D) resigned on Oct. 15 to pursue another job opportunity. He was elected to the state House in 2020 with 59% of the vote.

Democrats currently have an 80-65 majority in the Maine House with five third-party members and one vacancy. Maine has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of November, 10 state legislative special elections have been scheduled to take place in 2022. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Maine held 15 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional reading:



Maine transmission line company files lawsuit over constitutionality of Question 1

Voters in Maine approved Question 1 on November 2. The citizen-initiated ballot measure received 59% of the vote with 97% of precincts reporting. Question 1 was designed to stop the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC), a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. Construction of NECEC began after the project received a presidential permit on January 15, 2021. The ballot initiative prohibited the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to September 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of NECEC. Segment 1 was permitted to begin construction on May 13, 2021.

NECEC, LLC, along with parent firm Avangrid Networks, LLC, filed a lawsuit on November 3, stating that Question 1 was unconstitutional. NECEC and Avangrid argued that Question 1 violated the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial branches; infringed upon the sanctity of contracts; and violated the company’s vested right to construct and complete the project in good faith. The lawsuit stated, “Any other conclusion would render any major development project in the State – in fact, any effort by any person or business in the State to build any project, no matter how big or how small – vulnerable to discriminatory and prejudicial efforts to kill the project by after-the-fact changes to the law. Such retroactive deprivation of vested rights is contrary to the fundamental principles of fairness and equity embodied in Maine law.”

Sandra Howard, director of No CMP Corridor, responded, “Despite an onslaught of money that CMP, Hydro Quebec and their assortment of front groups interjected into this campaign, the people of Maine strongly and clearly rejected the NECEC project at the ballot box. CMP should respect the vote of Maine citizens and immediately stop the continued destruction of our precious forest and its habitat.”

Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history. Between supporters and opponents, $98.41 million was raised. The PACs No CMP Corridor, Mainers for Local Power, and NRCM Yes on Question 1 registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.64 million, including

  • $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine;
  • $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and
  • $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owns a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $70.77 million, including

  • $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and
  • $19.94 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.


Democrats flip Maine state House seat in Nov. 2 special election

Democrats picked up a seat in the Maine House of Representatives on Nov. 2. In the District 86 special election, Augusta City Council member Raegan LaRochelle (D) defeated U.S. Army veteran James Orr (R) with 56.2% of the vote. LaRochelle’s term will last until December 2022. To keep hold of her seat, LaRochelle will have to run for re-election in 2022 for a two-year term.

The seat became vacant on July 4 when Justin Fecteau (R) resigned because he moved outside of the district. He had represented the district since 2018. He was re-elected in 2020 with 57% of the vote.

Democrats currently have a 79-65 majority in the Maine House with five third-party members and two vacancies. Maine has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers.

As of Nov. 4, 65 state legislative special elections were scheduled or had taken place in 2021. Including the District 86 race, five seats have changed partisan hands in 2021. Two seats flipped from Republican control to Democratic control, while three seats flipped from Democratic control to Republican control. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Maine held 15 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional reading:



Maine voters approve ballot measures, including transmission corridor initiative and right to food amendment

Voters in Maine approved each of the three measures on the ballot for Nov. 2, 2021.  As of 8:30am EST on Wednesday, 89% of precincts had reported results. Question 1 received 59% of the vote. It was designed to prohibit the construction of electric transmission lines defined as high-impact in the Upper Kennebec Region, including the New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC). Question 2 received 72% of the vote. It authorized $100 million in general obligation bonds for transportation infrastructure projects. Question 3 received 61% of the vote. It established a state right to growing, raising, harvesting, and producing food, as long as an individual does not commit trespassing, theft, poaching, or abuses to private land, public land, or natural resources.

Question 1 prohibited the construction of high-impact electric transmission lines in the Upper Kennebec Region, retroactive to Sept. 16, 2020, thus prohibiting Segment 1 of NECEC. Segment 1 was permitted to begin construction on May 13, 2021. The NECEC is a 145-mile long, high-voltage transmission line project that would transmit around 1,200 megawatts from hydroelectric plants in Quebec to electric utilities in Massachusetts and Maine. The ballot initiative also required a two-thirds vote of each state legislative chamber to approve high-impact electric transmission lines. 

Question 1 saw $98.41 million raised between supporters and opponents. According to the Bangor Daily News, Question 1 was the most expensive ballot measure in Maine history, and the second most expensive political election after the $200 million U.S. Senate race in 2020.

No CMP Corridor led the campaign in support of Question 1. The PACs Mainers for Local Power and NRCM Yes on Question 1 were also registered to support the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $27.64 million, including $20.20 million from NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Cumberland, Maine, and six solar fields or projects in southern and central Maine; $3.61 million from Vistra Energy Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Veazie, Maine; and $3.26 million from Calpine Corp., which owned a natural gas-fired plant in Westbrook, Maine.

Clean Energy Matters, Hydro-Québec Maine Partnership, Vote No to Protect Maine, and Mainers for Fair Laws were registered to oppose the ballot initiative. Together, the PACs had raised $70.77 million, including $48.45 million from Central Maine Power (CMP), NECEC Transmission LLC, and the companies’ parent firm Avangrid; and $19.94 million from H.Q. Energy Services (U.S.) Inc., which was a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec.

Question 1 had the support of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and Sierra Club Maine, along with Calpine Corp., NextEra Energy Resources, and Vistra Energy Corp. Question 1 was opposed by Gov. Janet Mills (D), former Gov. Paul LePage (R), U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the supporting companies.

Additional reading: