Mills Wins Maine Gov. Race After GOP Opponent Moody Concedes

Democrat Janet Mills made history in Maine Tuesday after beating her GOP opponent, businessman Shawn Moody, in the state’s gubernatorial race.

The state attorney general will become Maine’s first woman governor, and replaces controversial outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

The most expensive race was in the 2nd Congressional District where Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin faces Democratic state lawmaker Jared Golden. The race was too close to call late Tuesday night.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District and independent U.S. Sen. Angus King were both favored in three-way contests.

Pingree claimed victory on Tuesday evening, and one of her opponents, independent Marty Grohman, conceded. King also declared victory, and WCSH projected him winning a second U.S. Senate term. However, the AP has not called either race. 

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As the state's first female attorney general, Mills has emphasized health care, the opioid epidemic and education, but says becoming the state's first female governor is not why she should win.

"I'm not running to be the first woman governor of Maine," she told necn. "I'm running to be the most qualified. And I can take this state in a new and positive direction."

Meanwhile, Mainers will also decide on several ballot questions, including a first-of-its-kind home health care referendum that calls for a 3.8 percent tax increase to provide home care for all Maine seniors and individuals with disabilities, regardless of income.

The referendum has drawn strong criticism from home care agencies, health care and business associations, and all three gubernatorial candidates. Critics say the referendum's ambiguous language could mean higher taxes for all families earning over $128,400.

The four borrowing proposals would mitigate wastewater pollution, upgrade transportation infrastructure and fund improvements at colleges and universities.

Ranked-choice voting is being used in the federal races. The system lets voters rank all candidates on the ballot. If no one gets a majority, then there are additional rounds of tallies.

Despite long lines and rainy conditions, voters continued to show up at polls, and the state's top election official said he believes turnout will exceed the 2014 midterm record.

Maine Democratic Secretary of State Matt Dunlap told reporters Monday he doesn't think predictions of heavier rain into the evening will dampen overall turnout numbers.

Dunlap estimates up to 65 percent of eligible voters will turn out Tuesday.

Turnout is often above 70 percent in a presidential election year in Maine. The state's voter turnout rates are often among the nation's highest.

The state has received 175,000 of nearly 200,000 absentee ballots requested by Mainers.

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