Maine Voters Reject Minimum Wage Hike

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The latest on the Maine election. (All times local.)

10:15 p.m.

Maine voters have approved changes aimed at bolstering the state's campaign finance rules and clean election law.

Advocates say the proposal will make more money available to qualifying candidates, increase fines for violators of the campaign finance laws and require groups to disclose some donors on political ads.

The proposal passed Tuesday with 55 percent of the vote in unofficial returns.

The Mainers for Accountable Elections coalition says the clean election overhaul will strengthen the campaign finance law, which gives public money to candidates running for governor and the Legislature.

Critics include Republican Gov. Paul LePage. He calls the proposal a "scam" and says he thinks voters are naive if they think the changes will get money out of politics.


10:05 p.m.

There's going to be a new mayor in Portland.

Portland residents have chosen Ethan Strimling as the mayor of Maine's largest city.

Strimling defeated the city's first elected mayor, incumbent Michael Brennan, along with Green Independent party leader Tom MacMillan. Strimling won with 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday.

Brennan and Strimling sparred about how they would work with Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Brennan said Strimling "naively" believes a functional relationship with Republican Gov. Paul LePage is possible. MacMillan said overcoming the governor's negative impression of Portland will be a big challenge for the next governor.

The race also touched on affordable housing, the city's minimum wage and the pace of development in the city.


10 p.m.

Voters in Maine's largest city have rejected proposals to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and to change the city's planning ordinance to protect water views.

The City Council already approved a minimum wage hike from $7.50 to $10.10 per hour that goes into effect on Jan. 1. The move made Portland the first municipality in the state to decide to have a minimum wage higher than the statewide minimum, but voters decided an additional hike was too much.

The other referendum was aimed at protecting water views.

The proposal would've required developers to share information with the public about projects that require rezoning. Supporters say they hoped to preserve views of Portland Harbor and rein in zoning change proposals.

Opponents said the initiative would've hold back growth in the city.


9:45 p.m.

The race for mayor in Maine's second-largest city will be decided by a runoff election.

Benjamin Chin had 44 percent of the vote on Tuesday, compared to 37 percent for incumbent Robert Macdonald. But neither collected 50 percent of the vote, so there will be a runoff election on Dec. 8 in Lewiston.

The Lewiston election pitted Macdonald, Chin, Luke Jensen, Stephen Morgan and Charles Soule.

Lewiston building owner Joe Dunne sparked controversy during the campaign by putting up signs that said "Don't vote for Ho Chi Chin; vote for more jobs not welfare." The signs referenced former Vietnamese Communist leader Ho Chi Minh.

Dunne says he put up the signs to strike back at Chin for accusing him of being a derelict landlord. Chin called the signs "filth."


9:37 p.m.

Republican Matthew Harrington has won in Maine House District 19, which covers part of Sanford. And Republican Lester Ordway has won in House District 23 in Standish.

In District 19, Harrington defeated Jean Noon, wife of former State Rep. William Noon, who died on July 15 after battling cancer. Harrington won with 48 percent of the vote.

In District 23, Ordway collected 41 percent of the vote, enough to beat Democrat Lynn Olson. They were vying for an empty seat after Rep. Michael Shaw, a Democrat, resigned on Aug. 21.

Neither of the special elections changes the balance of power on the Democratic-controlled House.


9:25 p.m.

Mainers have authorized $100 million in bonds for infrastructure improvements and low-income housing for seniors.

The bonds are divided between two questions, and both won approval from Maine voters on Tuesday.

One would authorize $85 million for infrastructure projects. Most of the money would pay to build, rebuild or rehabilitate state highways and replace and rehabilitate bridges.

The other question would provide $15 million for housing for seniors. Most of the money would be used to build new, affordable homes for low-income households headed by a person who is over 55 years old.

Also on the statewide ballot was a clean election overhaul. With 59 percent of precincts reporting, it was winning with 52 percent of the vote.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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