Live blog: Congressional primary fights, Maine (updated 11 PM, 6/10/14)

Readers: As this is a live blog, it will be updated from time to time. Earlier posts will be on the bottom with newer ones on top.

11 PM: One line of analysis that will surely develop in the aftermath of this race involves the state of Maine’s political parties.

The Democrats nominated a candidate who explicitly spoke about and had a history of working across the aisle. The Republicans nominated a candidate who explicitly opposed compromise.

As Kevin Raye said tonight, the outcome “says something about the direction of the Republican party.”

Can someone so far right as Poliquin and so disinclined toward compromise win a majority in the second district? He’s not in the same position as LePage, where a plurality is sufficient.

The anti-compromise attitude has made governing on a national level very difficult. Mainers have traditionally been pragmatists. Has Maine, or at least the second district, also changed?

And that’s it for tonight!

10:30 PM: Raye has conceded, and the now the congressional race match-up is set. It will be Emily Cain vs Bruce Poliquin.

My initial take is that Cain is closer to the median voter of the district. We can expect lots and lots of money in the district, from both sides, and lots of energy to get out the vote, both for this race and the governor’s race.

As I wrote at the start of the evening:

Maine primary contests haven’t gotten much attention nationally and with [the news that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lost his primary], they probably won’t get any at all tonight and tomorrow– unless Bruce Poliquin wins the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional district. With Cantor’s loss, that would support a storyline that the tea party is back.

10:10PM: Michael Shepherd is reporting that Kevin Raye has told his supporters that it’s hard to see a path to victory and has thanked his staff. This is “nearly a concession.”

9:30: AP calls Cain the winner of the Democratic nomination. This was a spirited contest, although Cain and Jackson agreed far more on policy issues than they disagreed.

Cain is a polished speaker who also shows a good deal of warmth. She knows a lot about public policy and also connects well with people. Her message on working together with others makes her a strong general election candidate for the district.

9:20 PM: Before more results come in the GOP primary for ME-2, here’s a bit of what I’ve been thinking about the race. In some ways, the contest can be described as I have below, as between an Establishment, moderate Republican, Kevin Raye, and a tea party Republican, Bruce Poliquin.

However, and this is a big however, there’s some particular elements of Mr. Poliquin’s candidacy that don’t fit that mold. For one, he wasn’t as far-right as he later positioned himself. In 2010, when he ran for governor, he got heat for his position on gun control. Guns are a hot button issue, particularly among Republicans. This year, Kevin Raye won the NRA’s endorsement.

Kevin Raye, posing with me at the Bangor Civic Center, where I went to vote

Kevin Raye, posing with me at the Bangor Civic Center, where I went to vote

Then you have the issues of Poliquin not paying taxes on his land and not really living in the Second District. Those also complicate a simple definition of the race.

Kevin Raye most definitely is from the district and is well-known from his earlier runs for Congress, as well as his stints and leadership in the Maine Legislature.

And Raye hit Poliquin on all those issues in this tv ad, which ends with a “cute little baby” who has lived in the district longer than Poliquin.

8:45PM, June 10 - Tonight turned out to have very big national news, as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was defeated by his tea party opponent. This comes after pundits had been saying the Republican Establishment had vanquished the tea party. The only bit of news challenging that came out of Mississippi, where long-time U.S. Senator Thad Cochran was forced into a run-off with a tea party challenger.

Candidate Bruce Poliquin posed with me at the Bangor polling place

Candidate Bruce Poliquin posed with me at the Bangor polling place

Maine primary contests haven’t gotten much attention nationally and with this news, they probably won’t get any at all tonight or tomorrow — unless Bruce Poliquin wins the Republican nomination for the Second Congressional district. With Cantor’s loss, that would support a storyline that the tea party is back.

Here’s Mr. Poliquin. He and Kevin Raye were at the Bangor Civic Center when I went to vote and both were kind enough to pose with me. Rep. John Schneck, a Democrat, took those pictures, thereby demonstrating his bipartisanship, courtesy and neighborliness.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives.