The battle to replace Republican Senator Olympia Snowe is heating up in Maine — but the frontrunner to take her spot isn’t even in today’s state primary.
Independent Former Governor Angus King is regarded as the likely candidate to succeed Snowe, and he doesn’t even have to clinch a spot in the primaries. He can instead sit back and watch as six Republicans and four Democrats battle it out Tuesday night.
Snowe, though a Republican, created a political career as a moderate willing to reach across the aisle, and found herself marooned on a GOP island where it was suddenly heresy to stray from the base.
Snowe’s surprise late February retirement announcement sent candidates scrambling to raise money and mount a feasible campaign, resulting in a muddled field on both sides. The winners in Tuesday’s primary will face an uphill battle against King, a popular two-term former governor who remains well-known in Maine.
Maine's Secretary of State is projecting low turnout for Tuesday. With less than 20% of registered voters expected to participate, a strong showing by party activists could boost
PolicyMic will be covering the Maine primaries live. Bookmark this page and click “refresh” for the latest updates:
LIVE UPDATES: 11:33 p.m. Summers and Dill will face off against King in November.
11:29 p.m. With 72% reporting, it looks like Summers will be the Republican nominee. He has 29% to Poliquin's 23%.
11:23 p.m. Cynthia Dill is the winner in the Democratic senate race. Dill has 44% of votes, to Dunlap's 36%, and Hinck's 12%.
11:08 p.m. With 67% reporting Dill and Summers stil hold the leads in their parties. Dill has 44% and Summers has 28%.
10:58 p.m. Democratic candidate Bruce Poliquin tweets at his supporters.
10:55 p.m. Pollard, who trails the other Democrats in the senate race with 7%, says he will remain in the race as a write-in candidate.
10:45 p.m. 63% reporting and Dill is holding her lead with 44% of Democratic votes. Summers and Poliquin are in a closer race for the GOP nomination; they have 28% and 23% respectively.
10:36 p.m. 59% reporting: Dill still leads the Democrats with 44% and Summers leads Republicans with 29%.
10:15 p.m. With 54% reporting in the Democratic race, Dill still holds 44%, Dunlap has 37%, and Hinck is in the third place with 11%. In the Republican race, Summers still leads with 29%.
50% of precincts are now reporting results.
10:12 p.m. A slight increase for Dunlap who is now at 38% still behind Dill's steady 44%; 49% of precincts are currently reporting.
10:02 p.m. With 46% of precincts reporting the Democratic numbers are holding tight. Dill still leads with 44% followed by Dunlap at 37%. Republican numbers have hardly changed. Summers has 27% to Poliquin's 24%.
9:53 p.m. Maine voters react:
9:46 p.m. Currently, 38% of precincts are reporting. In the Democratic race Dill is now in the lead with 44% followed by Dunlap with 37%. On the Republican side, Summers has 27% to Poliquin's 23%.
9:40 p.m. The numbers right now: Dunlap and Dill are neck-and-neck, as are Summers and Poliquin.
9:35 p.m. Summers and Poliquin in the lead in the Republican senate race. Poliquin has 22.64% of votes to Summers's 24.88%. Currently, 167 of 595 precincts are reporting.
9:34 p.m. Maine voters weigh in on Twitter.
9:29 p.m. In the Democratic senate race, Dill is closing in on Dunlap. Dill has 40.13% to Dunlap's 43.5%. Hinck follows with 9.845 and Pollard brings up the rear with 6.52%
9:26 p.m. Kevin Raye beats R. Blaine Richardson in GOP primary in 2nd congressional district.
9:11 p.m. With 81 of 595 precincts reporting, Maine is so far looking pretty good for Summers (R) and Dunlap (D).
8:57 p.m. In the Republican senate race, Summers is far in the lead with 32.35% followed next by Bennett who has 20.02% of the votes. Poliquin is close in third with 18.08% followed by D'Amboise at 12.34%, Schneider at 7.68%, and Plowman with 7.53%. Currently, 38 of 595 precincts are reporting.
8:51 p.m. Dunlap and Dill are moving far ahead of other Democratic contenders Hinck and Pollard. Dunlap has 50.72% of votes and Dill has 34.42%. Hinck and Pollard are trailing with 8.7% and 6.16%, respectively.
8:45 p.m. Twitter analysis is underway:
8:42 p.m. Results continue to flow in from across the state. For the Democrats, Dunlap is leading, while on the Republican side Bennett currently holds the most votes.
8:31 p.m. Maine results are slowly trickling in with the first two precincts now reporting. In the Democratic senate race: Matthew Dunlap currently has 50%; Jon Hink has 25% of the vote and Cynthia Dill has 25%. On the Republic side: Richard Bennett 42.86%; L. Scott D'Amboise 9.52%; Debra Plowman 14.29%; Bruce L. Poliquin 9.52% and Charles Summers 23.81%.
8 p.m. Polls across the state are now closed.
All polls close at 8 p.m.
The Candidates: On the GOP side, former State Senate President Rick Bennett, Secretary of State Charlie Summers, and state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin lead the pack. Poliquin, who is running to the right of the field, has been endorsed by FreedomWorks and has raised $229,000 between April 1 and May 24, more than any other GOP candidate during the pre-primary period and he is also one of the few candidates up on television. About half of Poliquin's haul came from his own pockets. In 2010, Poliquin sunk a substantial amount of his own money into his bid to win the Republican nomination for governor, only to finish a disappointing sixth.
No frontrunner has emerged in the field of four Democratic candidates. Former Secretary of StateMatt Dunlap leads the fundraising chase, in which is he followed by Rep. Jon Hinck. Dunlap may have a slight geographical advantage in the race, since he is the only candidate from outside Portland-area. State Sen. Cynthia Dill, meanwhile, has waged an aggressive campaign and is expected to perform well in the Portland area. Benjamin Pollard, a businessman, is also running.
Background: Snowe, who created a political career as a moderate willing to reach across the aisle, found herself marooned on a GOP island where it was suddenly heresy to stray from the base. In an interview on MSNBC, the Senator told host Andrea Mitchell that it has become “very difficult to resolve major issues" and that she hoped to “give voice to the frustrations that ... exist with the political system ... in Washington, where it's dysfunctional, and the political paralysis has overtaken the environment to the damaging of the good of the country."
Snowe’s decision not to run for re-election in November shocked a Maine electorate known for its political quirkiness. The Senator’s seemingly snap announcement and subsequent derision of her colleagues’ ideological intransigence on national television signals the death of the moderate GOP senator, a species that happens to be disproportionately female.