On Tuesday, Nov. 8, the 2022 midterm election resulted in the notable re-election of Governor Janet Mills in the state of Maine. Mills was not the only Democratic candidate who found success in last week’s election, as Chellie Pingree maintained her seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Locally, Democrat Mike Tipping was also successful in defeating Eric Rojo in the District 8 state senate race.
The results of this election will have certain implications for Maine going forward as an increasingly progressive state.
Governor Mills prevailed over Republican candidate Paul LePage who had previously served as the governor of Maine from 2011 until Mills took office in January of 2019. Her campaign has been centered around a variety of issues including maximizing women’s reproductive rights, expanding healthcare access and aggressively tackling climate change.
Trump-backed LePage had focused his campaign around phasing out Maine’s income tax. However the voice of the people was loudly heard in this battle, as a LePage win could have potentially resulted in a push for more restrictive legislation on abortion access. This has been a key issue across the country since Roe v. Wade — an act that recognized abortion as a constitutional right — was overturned this past June. Mills promised to promote access to this kind of healthcare in Maine as long as she remains in office.
Representative Pingree in District 1 has been serving the state of Maine in Congress since 2009. Greater access to extensive healthcare and the guarantee for all people to make their own health-related decisions are issues that Pingree strongly stands by her fellow state-elected officials in. She also prioritizes universal quality education and public health infrastructure to counter the consequences of the opioid epidemic that has taken far too many lives both in Maine and nationwide.
The Orono area’s newly elected state senator, Mike Tipping, can relate to the progressive visions of his fellow midterm victors, and he has spent the entirety of his career passionately advocating for Mainers. Locally, he has been very involved in the legal battle against HoltraChem after the company dumped many tons of mercury into the Penobscot River.
District 2 is expected to re-elect Representative Jared Golden, who shares Mills’ drive to expand healthcare. He also aims to reform campaign financing as well as corruption within Congress. Another key aspect of Golden’s platform is to ensure that Maine seniors maintain access to full social security benefits and Medicare.
Although he has not been officially declared as the winning candidate of Maine’s 2nd District, Golden announced his victory against former Rep. Bruce Poliquin who had previously served Maine from 2015 to 2019. Poliquin has not yet conceded the race, and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows shared that an official result will not be available until some point this week through a ranked-choice runoff. Maine is one of two states in the country using ranked choice voting in statewide and federal elections.
The Democratic party had very successful midterm results overall, as they were able to hold onto control of both the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate. They also proved to be significantly more effective at ensuring their campaign messages were heard with help from a substantial amount of out-of-state funding.
With the midterm results largely decided, Mainers can expect the state to place much of its focus on the same issues Governor Mills has prioritized since taking office. As far as abortion goes, state protections are capable of further expansion. However it is unlikely that abortion protections will be implemented into the Maine Consitution. Only time will tell what other policy initiatives will emerge from the State House as the Mills administration carries on.