Democrats Seize Control Of House & Senate – Major Changes Coming

Updated 2 years ago

Two years ago, Republicans took control of both the Maine House of Representatives and Senate for the first time in decades.Maine voters swept those majorities away in Tuesday’s election.It seems symbolic that the Maine House of Representatives chamber is getting a makeover since the landscape of state government is getting a facelift, with Democrats seizing control of both. “I was shocked frankly,” said Speaker of the House, Republican Robert Nutting of Oakland.With Republicans losing their majorities, Robert Nutting’s tenure as House Speaker will be short lived.Maine Democratic Party Chair Ben Grant would not say who will succeed Nutting, but did say in all likelihood Portland Democrat Justin Alfond will be the next Senate President.Democrats said voters sent a clear message to Governor LePage and the Republicans who have held the upper hand in state government the past two years. “The real victory is for Maine’s middle class,” Grant said Wednesday. “I think they’ve really stood up for themselves the past two years and taken a look at what the governor has tried to do with his Republican allies in lock-step and said, ‘That’s not what we want. That’s not what we want out of government that’s not what we want out of Maine.'”With new Democratic majorities elected to the Legislature, three of Maine’s most prominent offices – treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general – are suddenly in play. “I think Bruce Poliquin in particular has really changed the treasurer’s office for the worst, he’s really politicized it,” Grant said. “I don’t think Secretary of State Summers acquitted himself well in the same day voter registration debate or the voter ID debate, so we’re happy he won’t be in charge of our elections anymore.” The majority party gets to elect the three so-called constitutional officers, who won’t be elected until after the new Legislature’s sworn in Dec. 5. But Tuesday’s election was barely over before names of potential candidates started to surface.Former Attorney General Janet Mills says she’d like to return to the post she held for one term. Mills faces a challenge by trial lawyer Timothy Shannon of Yarmouth.Former secretary of state Matthew Dunlap acknowledges reports he’s a possible candidate for that job, and is not ruling out a run.Former State Representative Jeremy Fischer is a candidate for treasurer.After watching his majority crumble, Governor LePage released a statement that read in part: “Here in Maine, we must come together to find solutions to our fiscal challenges that will lead to the recovery of our economy and improve prosperity for hardworking families and businesses. I stand ready to work with those who will put Mainers first and won’t allow the political rhetoric to continue.”Although the Democrats are returning to power, both sides vow to work together. “I think we’ve gone out of our way to be accommodating to the Democrats and I expect they will do that to us and I think that they will,” Nutting said.Meanwhile Grant says the Democrats will work for whatever is in the best interest of Mainers. “Whoever comes up with a good idea, it should be supported. It doesn’t matter what the partisan label is.”(The Associated Press Contributed To This Report)


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