Maine Governor: Post-Primary Bottom Line

Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term-limited and Democrats believe that this open seat is one of their best pick-up opportunities. They have good reason to be optimistic, but they had to jump through some hoops to get a nominee.  The June 12 primary was the first election that used rank choice voting in which voters rank candidates in order of preference.  If no candidate gets a majority of the vote, an “instant run-off” begins as voter preferences are tabulated. This is what happened in the Democratic primary.  Attorney General Janet Mills finished first with 33 percent, followed by clean energy entrepreneur Adam Cote with 28 percent; five candidates split 39 percent.  The “instant run-off” was not so instant; it took eight days to declare Mills the nominee.  She took 54 percent to 46 percent for Cote.  Shawn Moody, who owns a chain of auto body repair shops, won the Republican nomination outright with 56 percent in a four-way field.  Moody ran for Governor in 2010 as an independent, finishing fourth with 5 percent.  He is a LePage ally, which may well work against him as voters may well be ready for a change after eight years of the often-controversial incumbent Governor.  It’s possible, though, that an independent could represent that change.  The race is in the Toss Up column.