Maine is doing something weird: ranked voting. Voters in the Democratic and Republican primaries will rank their candidates in preferred order. If no candidate gets 50 percent on the first go, the lowest-ranked candidate will be eliminated and the second-place votes of their voters will be distributed. That will be repeated until a candidate hits 50 percent.
Beyond the potential chaos of Maine’s overall voting system this year, there will be closely watched primaries for both the governor’s seat (current Republican Gov. Paul LePage is term-limited) and the Democratic primary challenging Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin.
Polls close at 8 pm Eastern time. We will have live results for the Senate and key House races below, powered by Decision Desk.
Maine governor Democratic primary: Janet Mills leads the field to reclaim the office for Democrats
In the best poll we have of the race, Janet Mills — Maine’s attorney general since 2013, and a state lawmaker before that — was way ahead of the field, with 32 percent of the vote. So while she is the frontrunner, she has some credible challengers. Mark Eves, a former Maine House speaker, had 16 percent of the vote, good enough for second place, in the poll we have. State Sen. Mark Dion had 10 percent. Democratic organizer Adam Cote was the other notable finisher, at 9 percent.
Maine governor Republican primary: all the major candidates are hugging close to outgoing Gov. Paul LePage
Business executive Shawn Moody is the leader in the Republican primary based on the best available polling, sitting at 36 percent. But he doesn’t seem to have a majority and faces several credible Republican challengers.
Mary Mayhew — who, as LePage’s top health official, has been instrumental in helping to block the Medicaid expansion — came in second at 19 percent, and she has also said she will continue to obstruct expansion. Garrett Mason, the Maine Senate majority leader, registered third at 15 percent, and House Minority Leader Ken Fredette was fourth with 10 percent.
Whoever emerges from both parties’ primaries, the November general election should be competitive. Cook Political Report rates the race a toss-up, while the University of Virginia’s Crystal Ball thinks it leans toward the Democrats. LePage is pretty unpopular: 41 percent of Mainers approve of his job performance and 53 percent disapprove, according to Morning Consult. Then again, he’s been elected twice and Donald Trump lost narrowly (3 points) in 2016.
Maine’s Second Congressional District Democratic primary: Democrats look for a candidate to challenge Republican Bruce Poliquin
State Rep. Jared Golden, bookseller Craig Olson, and nonprofit director Lucas St. Clair make up the field.
Golden and St. Clair have the lead on fundraising. Golden is a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and a former staffer for Maine Sen. Susan Collins. St. Clair is a conservationist and the son of Burt’s Bees founder Roxanne Quimby. He played an active role in pressing then-President Barack Obama to preserve Katahdin Woods and Waters as a national monument.
Two-term incumbent Bruce Poliquin seeks to defend his seat. While Trump took this district in 2016 — marking an unprecedented split of Maine’s electoral votes — Democrats aim to focus on health care in an effort to flip voters. Poliquin was one of the swing votes on the House Obamacare repeal bill, and his vote in favor of the plan is likely to be held against him. Cook says this district is just R+2 (meaning it leans just 2 points toward Republicans compared to the nation as a whole) and rates it Lean Republican.