2022 Midterms Preview –Maine
The Millennial Agora continues our complete preview of the upcoming midterm elections for Congress with the state of Maine. A state of just over 1 million people, Maine is the most northerly state in the continental United States and one of the six states which make up the region of New England. The state is deeply split amongst rural and urban lines with the southern areas of the state, including the state capital of Augusta and the largest city of Portland, forming a somewhat contiguous urban conglomeration and has become a part of the extended Boston metropolitan area. Outside of Southern Maine, the northern half of the state is extremely rural, with thick forests covering much of the state’s north. Unsurprisingly, the southern areas tend to be more liberal, with the rural areas tending to be more conservative. In Presidential Elections, the southern urban areas have had enough of a turnout to keep Maine as a reliably Democratic state (in 2020 President Joe Biden won the state with 53% of the vote). The last Republican to win the state was George H.W. Bush in 1988, and there is also a large amount of third-party voters in the state, and Maine is one of only two states to have a Senator not from either of the two main established parties. In 2022, there will be elections in Maine for the House of Representatives as well as for Governor. Maine is allocated two seats in the House, and this number remained unchanged after redistricting. Currently, both seats are occupied by Democrats.
House of Representatives
Maine receives two seats in the House of Representatives, and all seats will be up for election in November. The overall CVPI for the entire state is D+2, making Maine’s House races (taken as a whole) to be toss-ups, with a slight lean for the Democrats. (The CPVI, or Cook Partisan Voting Index, is the main metric to measure the strength of a political party for a particular House district or Senate seat. The measure was created and managed by the non-partisan Cook Political Report and uses historical data, as well as polling, to create the “partisan lean” of each district or state. A CPVI rating of R+15 would mean that on average, Republican candidates win elections in that district or state by an average of 15%, while a rating of D+15 would mean the same thing, but for the Democratic candidate. A district or state with a CPVI with double digits is considered to be non-competitive).
A. Current Representative: Chellie Pingree (D)
B. Population Distribution: Mostly Urban and Suburban, Some Rural Areas
C. Demographics: 89% White
D. Cook PVI: D+9 (Strong Democratic)
E. Outlook: Maine’s first district includes the southern third of the state, including the state’s largest city of Portland, as well as part of the state’s border with New Hampshire. Incumbent Rep. Pingree has represented the district since 2008 and won reelection in 2020 with 62% of the vote. This district is much more liberal than Maine’s second district and Rep. Pingree, who ran unopposed in the district’s closed primaries, earned around twice as many votes as her Republican challenger. Her lead in the polls of around 25% has grown since the end of summer.
F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)
A. Current Representative: Jared Golden (D)
B. Population Distribution: Mostly Rural, Some Urban and Suburban Areas
C. Demographics: 91% White
D. Cook PVI: R+6 (Leans Republican)
E. Outlook: The Maine second district includes the rest of the state (about two-thirds of the state’s total area), with the cities of Bangor, Lewiston and the state capital of Augusta all included in this sprawling district which also borders New Hampshire, as well as the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. One of the closest toss-up seats in the country, the Maine 2nd will be pivotal to both parties vying for control of the House. Incumbent Rep. Golden has represented the district since 2018 when he defeated his current Republican challenger, Bruce Poliquin. Rep. Golden was able to win reelection in 2020 with 53% of the vote, despite former President Trump winning the district with 52% of the vote. Rep. Golden has tried to portray himself as a moderate in the House, as he was the only Democrat in the House to vote against President Biden’s spending bill last year. He ran unopposed in the district’s closed primaries, and the two Republican candidates earned around 11,000 more votes than Rep. Golden. The partisan lean of the district, as well as some national momentum for Republicans and the popularity of the last administration, are all good news for Mr. Poliquin, who represented this seat from 2015-2019. However, the polling numbers seem to be strongly in Rep. Golden’s favor. He has never trailed in any poll conducted in the district, and had an 11% margin over Mr. Poliquin in a poll conducted in the middle of September. In the aggregate polling data, Rep. Golden is leading by 3%. This lead has grown since June, where Rep. Golden was losing by 2.5% (a 5.5% swing in favor of the Democratic incumbent). A light-red district in a light-blue state may not make Democratic strategists particularly optimistic, and this race’s margin could be decided by third-party voters (third-party voters are averaging around 4% in the polls and in September 13% of respondents were still undecided). Democrats have been able to do reasonably well in rural/suburban districts in the Northeast and this should remain true in the Maine 2nd, however a Republican victory would not be surprising either. For the Democrats, the Maine 2nd is a must-hold for their national outlook, while the Republicans would gladly take some insurance districts, as their outlook in other parts of the country look a bit more favorable than in the Maine 2nd.
F. Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)
The only other election taking place in Maine this year is for the Governor. Incumbent Democratic Governor Janet Mills is seeking reelection against the man she replaced in 2018, former Governor Paul LePage who could not run in 2018 due to term limits. In 2018, Gov. Mills won the state with 51% of the vote (and a 7% margin of victory). Both candidates ran unopposed in their respective primaries, and Gov. Mills received around 9,000 more votes than Mr. LePage. This governorship is categorized as “lean Democratic” by most major news outlets, and Gov. Mills has never trailed in any poll. Two polls were conducted at the end of September, showing Gov. Mills with leads of 12% and 14% respectively. A Democratic incumbent in a light-blue state is good news for the Democrats, who should have enough votes in the Portland metropolitan area to carry Gov. Mills to a second term.
Millennial Agora Prediction: Democratic Victory (HOLD)
The Millennial Agora is predicting that the House races in Maine will lead to no changes in the House or Senate, with both seats going to the Democrats. Democratic Governor Mills will also win reelection, according to our predictions.
Thank you for reading our preview of the midterm elections in Maine. Check back tomorrow as we look at the races in Maryland, a blue state in the Mid-Atlantic, where Democrats are looking for a boost to their margins in the House.