In a decisive win, Maine voters re-elected Democratic Gov. Janet Mills to a second term.
Around 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday night, NBC News had projected Mills as the winner of a fierce gubernatorial race between her and her arch-rival, the state’s former governor, Republican Paul LePage.
The next morning, Mills spent time at Becky’s Diner on Portland’s waterfront, even pouring coffee for some of the patrons who were there.
“When I saw her, I was so happy, I’m just so happy she won,” said Joni Hewitt, a voter and Mills supporter who received some coffee from the governor.
Before entering Becky’s, Mills spent a few minutes with reporters discussing her win, saying that she was very moved by supporters she met at polls on Tuesday.
At that time, she had still not heard from LePage, who had lashed out at his opponent during his watch party in Lewiston the previous evening calling Mills “not an honest, sincere person” and “an elitist.”
Wednesday afternoon LePage’s campaign released a statement saying, “I accept the results of yesterday’s election. I continue to have grave concerns for the people of Maine over the need for home heating oil relief and efforts to handle inflation. I urge the Governor to take action.”
As for Mills, she said on Tuesday morning that she is looking ahead to challenges like tackling high heating oil and electricity prices.
Asked if there was something Democrats could learn from her race as they look to 2024, she said, “I’ve tried to connect with as many people as possible, both by messaging and reading and walking main streets and going to diners, clubs and shops...see as many people as I can, listen to them and hear what’s on their minds.”
“I think that’s the most important thing with any campaign,” she added.