2012-06-15 / In the News

State, local races decided

By Michael Kelley
Staff Writer

Despite low turnout at the polls on June 12, it was a good day for U.S. Senate candidates from southern Maine.

Cynthia Dill, a resident of Cape Elizabeth and Charlie Summers, a resident of Scarborough, pulled out victories in their party primaries. Now Dill, a Democrat and Summers, a Republican, will face Independent Angus King in the general election. The winner will replace Sen. Olympia Snowe, who chose not to seek re-election for a fourth term in the U.S. Senate.

All night long, it was Summers’ race to lose. He ended up besting a field of five other Republican candidates, which included Richard Bennett, Scott d’Amboise, Debra Plowman, state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, and Attorney General William Schneider.

With a third of the precincts reporting, Summers, the current secretary of state, held a 450-vote lead over Poliquin. That lead grew to 794 votes, with half the votes counted and 2,200 with two-thirds of the precincts reporting. When the race was called, with 75 percent of the votes counted, Summers held a 3,216 vote lead over Poliquin. Much of the support Summers received came from Scarborough, a community he has lived in for the last 25 years. In all three precincts in Scarborough, Summers was the top vote getter. In total, he won 758 of the 1,315 votes cast in Scarborough, including 60 percent in Ward 1, where he lives.

“In Scarborough, Saco, Old Orchard Beach and Dayton—my old senate district, we were incredibly humbled by the support,” Summer said. “Scarborough has always been so good to me. It’s gratifying to have that support,” Summers said on Wednesday.

 This is the fourth statewide election for Summers. In 1994, 2004 and 2008 he ran, unsuccessfully, to represent District 1 in the U.S. House, a seat currently held by Chellie Pingree.

After taking a breather after a long primary day, Summers said he is gearing up for the statewide campaign against Dill and King.

“We will be reaching all across Maine to the plainlands and the coast and every point in between to make sure people understand our message of cutting spending, reducing our national debt and making sure we have a string defense and take care of our veterans.” Summers said.

Like Summers, Dill spent most of the night in the lead and eventually captured 44 percent of the vote with 22,868 votes. Matthew Dunlap, former secretary of state, finished second in the primary with 18,473 votes. State Rep. Jon Hinck finished with 6,371 votes and Justin “Benjamin” Pollard with 3,943 votes. In Scarborough, a community she currently represents in the state Senate, Dill earned 57 percent of the vote. Dunlap finished second in the town with 20 percent of the vote.

With the victory behind her, Dill said she is ready for the general election.

“We hit the ground running,” said Dill the morning after her victory. “The plan is to just continue to relay our message … jobs, the economy, access to health care, education and fighting for working families.”

“I have a really hard-working and dedicated staff,” Dill added. “What I stand for – universal access to health care, reducing the military budget, creating jobs — resonates in this era of economic inequality. The quality of people’s lives is really dropping.”

In local races, Jim Boyle, a Gorham resident, beat Westbrook resident Tim Driscoll by winning 61 percent of the 1,806 votes cast in the District 6 State Senate race. The winner of the position, which is currently filled by Phil Bartlett who is being termed-out, will face Ruth Summers, a Republican from Scarborough who is married to Charlie Summers. District 6 makes up Gorham and parts of Scarborough and Westbrook, the city where Driscoll captured 86 percent of the vote. Boyle, however, beat Driscoll 580 to 97 in Gorham and 462 to 317 in Scarborough.

This being Boyle’s first run at a political office, the campaign, he said, left him exhausted, yet fulfilled. That hard work paid off.

“It was a whole new experience for me,” Boyle said. “It’s so great to win on my first time out.”

Boule said he will not change his strategy for the general election and continue to meet voters one-on-one and run a respectful campaign like he did during the primary race.

“The plan stays the same. I’ll mostly continue meeting people one-on-one. That’s what I was encouraged to do as a first-time candidate. That was the best part of the process for me. It was a real pleasure to talk to people. I am a people person. It didn’t feel like a job to me.”

The race between South Portland Representative Bryan Kaenrath and Cape Elizabeth resident Rebecca Millett to replace Dill in District 7 in the state Senate finished in similar fashion, with Millett winning 63 percent of the vote. Millett easily won her hometown of Cape Elizabeth with 737, or 77 percent of the vote and Scarborough, where she won 65 percent of the vote. Kaenrath’s best showing was in South Portland, where he got 632 votes, or 48 percent.

Attempts to reach Millett were unsuccessful.

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