A new Survey USA poll for the Fair Vote organization, which supports Maine’s controversial instant runoff Ranked Choice Voting system, finds the 2nd District Republican contest turning into a strong three-way battle. According to S-USA (6/30; 7/6; 604 ME-2 likely Republican primary voters), former state Rep. Dale Crafts would lead realtor and ex-journalist Adrienne Bennett and former state Sen. Eric Brakey, 37-25-19%. Such a result would employ the Ranked Choice system to choose a winner once the last place candidate is eliminated and the new ranking occurs. We could once again this system produce a primary winner who did not attract the most votes.
Last week, we reported on a Moore Information survey (6/20-24; 600 ME registered voter telephone interviews) that found Sen. Susan Collins (R) leading state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport), 45-37%. Now, Public Policy Polling (7/2-3; 1,022 “voters” through interactive response devise) posts Gideon to a 46-42% lead. While phone interviews tend to be more accurate than automated responses, the cumulative effect of the two polls provide support for prognosticators who project this race as a toss-up campaign.
Primaries and runoffs are still on the political horizon, but July is a light electoral month. Tomorrow, the postponed New Jersey statewide primary will be held, and a new extensive mail voting procedure will be tested as all registered voters were sent a live ballot. The Delaware stand-alone presidential primary will also be conducted. The regular statewide Delaware primary is the latest in the nation, scheduled for September 15th. Stand-alone presidential primaries will also be held this month in Louisiana (7/11) and Puerto Rico (7/12).
July 14th hosts runoff elections in Alabama and Texas. The important US Senate Republican contest between retired Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville and ex-US Attorney General and former Senator Jeff Sessions will be finally be decided that day. Runoffs in the open 1st and 2nd Congressional Districts will also send contestants to the respective general elections in what should be safe Republican seats. The original Alabama runoff election date was March 31st.
Texas holds a US Senate Democratic runoff and 15 House secondary elections postponed from May 26th. From the latter group, nine Republican contests and six Democratic electoral events will finally determine general election participants. The Texas and Alabama primaries were held all the way back on March 3rd.
Maine holds its postponed primary also on July 14th. State House Speaker Sara Gideon is a heavy favorite to win the Democratic US Senate nomination to face incumbent Susan Collins (R). Three credible Republicans are vying for the opportunity of challenging freshman Rep. Jared Golden (D-Lewiston) in what is likely to be a competitive 2nd District general election campaign.
Gov. Janet Mills (D) moved the Maine June 9th primary to July 14th, but it still appears that we will see a traditional primary election in the Pine Tree State. Gov. Mills said on Friday she has no plans to change the election format to all-mail. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) indicated that the Governor would only have until June 14 to change her mind with regard to moving to all-mail, arguing the state’s county clerks would need a month to implement a universal postal system.
A new entry into the polling scene, Victory Geek, released a new Maine Senate survey (5/13-18; 512 ME registered voters via interactive response device; 100 person Democratic voter over-sample) that finds former state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) opening up a larger lead over Sen. Susan Collins (R), 51-42%, while Democratic candidate Elizabeth Sweet only musters a one point edge. There is no question that Ms. Gideon will be the Democratic nominee, so the data pairing Ms. Sweet with Sen. Collins is largely irrelevant.
It’s difficult to analyze the viability of this poll since we have not previously seen Victory Geek’s work. While the population and political ratios look consistent with Maine population numbers and voting history, there is not enough past information from Victory Geek to determine their reliability factor. The idea that Sen. Collins is behind has become a recent pattern in recently released research, but whether such a trend holds for the long term remains to be seen.
Gov. Janet Mills (D) indicated yesterday that she does not believe it possible that the June 9th primary will be conducted as scheduled. She is considering moving the election to July 14th. Under Maine election law, the Governor has the sole power to move an election date.
Colby College, located in Waterville, ME, sponsored a survey of the Maine electorate administered by SocialSphere (2/10-13; 1,008 ME registered voters) that tested the impending Senate race between incumbent Susan Collins (R) and state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-South Freeport). The results show a virtual tie between the two, with Gideon forging a 43-42% edge over the four-term Senator. Democrats view this race as a major national target, but Sen. Collins has yet to fully engage her advertising and holds over $7 million in reserve. Ms. Gideon reported just under $2.8 million in her account at the end of 2019 after spending almost $5 million.
Retired Air Force Major General Tom Treacy, who was a rather late entry into the Maine Democratic Senate primary, has already ended his campaign. Citing an inability to compete financially with early Democratic leader Sara Gideon, the Speaker of the state House of Representatives, Gen. Treacy has formally withdrawn from the race.
Ms. Gideon has been one of the most successful US Senate challenger fundraisers in this election cycle. According to her 3rd Quarter financial disclosure report, she has raised $4.26 million for the election cycle, and held $2.76 million in her campaign account on September 30th. The eventual party nominee will challenge Sen. Susan Collins (R) who has raised over $8.5 million for the cycle and had $7.1 million cash-on-hand at the end of the reporting period.
Sen. Susan Collins (R) drew another Democratic opponent yesterday. Retired Air Force Major General Jon Treacy announced his US Senate candidacy, joining state House Speaker Sara Gideon (D-Freeport) and former gubernatorial candidate Betsy Sweet in the primary campaign.
The Maine primary will be decided June 9th, after a March 16th candidate filing deadline. Gen. Treacy will certainly start out substantially behind Ms. Gideon in the money race. She attracted $1.059 million in just her first few days of campaigning post her late June announcement. The general election looks to be competitive, but Sen. Collins begins in a clear favorite position.
As the Maine special legislative session was ending yesterday, the state Senate passed a bill and sent to Gov. Janet Mills (D) a measure that would add the Ranked Choice Voting system to the presidential primary ballot. Maine, like several other states, is moving from a caucus system to a primary and will join 13 other states in voting on Super Tuesday, March 3rd.
Ranked Choice Voting is a system that allows voters to rank their candidate choices, and certain individuals will have their multiple votes counted if the first-place finisher only receives a plurality of the vote. The system’s purpose is to guarantee that a candidate will exceed 50%.
In a presidential primary, however, when delegates are apportioned on a percentage basis with a 15% qualifying factor, it is unclear how the RCV would affect the apportionment process. If signed into law, we could see a credentials challenge at the Democratic National Convention from certain candidates who fail to receive as many delegates under Ranked Choice Voting as they would from the original vote.
The Rundown Blog
Before you vote, learn more about the candidates who will support a pro-jobs America.