In a special election both parties described beforehand as a tossup, voters flocked to the polls yesterday in Maine's 19th Senate District to deliver another stern rebuke to right-wing Governor Paul LePage and his Republican allies in the legislature.
All day long, local elections officials described turnout as "huge" in the race to replace former Senator Seth Goodall (D), a race ultimately won by Democrat and Senator-Elect Eloise Vitelli. But as the Portland Press Herald explains, Republicans started out with a crucial advantage in this district: "In Vitelli, Democrats found a candidate with policy experience but little public profile next to [former Republican Senator Paula] Benoit, who won election to the seat in 2006 but lost to Goodall by 162 votes in 2008."
In the end, though, Gov. LePage - who "causes Maine national embarrassment," according to two-thirds of statewide voters - was unable to install another GOP ally through this special election, which "has been pitched as a bellwether for 2014." Voters can get rid of LePage next fall, but until then, they refused to send yet another LePage rubber stamp to the legislature. Congratulations to Senator Vitelli and Maine Senate Democrats for running an outstanding campaign.