Maine voters headed to the polls on Tuesday to cast their ballots in primaries for the governor, House of Representatives and the state legislature. Polls closed at 8 p.m. ET.
Maine utilizes ranked-choice voting in primaries for all federal, statewide and state legislature offices. (Ranked-choice voting is only used for federal offices during general elections as of May 2022.)
If no candidate receives 50% of the first-choice votes, the last-place candidate is removed and any ballots with that removed candidate listed as first preference have their second preference candidate elevated instead. The race is then re-tabulated to determine whether a candidate has reached 50%. This process of removing a last-place candidate and re-tabulating results then repeats for another “round” until a candidate reaches the 50% threshold.
Maine’s gubernatorial primaries are extremely low stakes, with incumbent Janet Mills, a Democrat, and former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, both running unopposed with no official write-in candidates. But in November, the two political foes are up for a contentious fight for a seat that has recently shifted further left.
The general election face-off has already begun heating up and is slated to be among the most competitive governor’s races in the country this year. Thus far, Mills leads LePage in fundraising.
At least one independent, physician Sam Hunkler, will be on the ballot for the general, too.
In Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, the most competitive primary was between GOP candidates Bruce Poliquin and Liz Caruso. Poliquin, a former U.S. representative from 2015 to 2019, and homeschool mom Caruso were both seeking to challenge Democratic Rep. Jared Golden, who is currently running uncontested in the primary, in November.
Poliquin, also a former businessman and state treasurer, lost in a narrow election in 2018 to Golden. This year, he ran on a platform against federal spending, support for domestic energy production and stricter border protections.
Caruso said she’s running because she believes the Constitution’s First and Second amendments are under attack, that child sex trafficking isn’t being adequately addressed, and that the government shouldn’t mandate COVID-19 vaccines.