2012-11-09 / Community

Dems prevail in South Portland and Cape

By Jack Flagler
Staff Writer

The main focus on election night, Tuesday, Nov. 6, was the win of one Democrat. President Barack Obama defeated Republican Mitt Romney to win another four-year term as President.

Locally, Democrats carried the day as well.

Four Democrats, three of which are incumbents, won election to the State House seats that represent South Portland and Cape Elizabeth, ensuring that the left-leaning area will once again send all Democrats to Augusta.

The only newcomer to Augusta from the area will be Democrat Scott Hamann, who won a three-way race to replace Rep. Jane Eberle. Eberle had served her maximum of four terms in District 123, which encompasses part of Cape Elizabeth and part of South Portland. Hamann received 2,716 votes to defeat Republican Jake Myrick, with 1,574 votes, and Independent Roger Bishop, with 932 votes.

The District 124 race in South Portland was the tightest of the four. Incumbent Bryan Kaenrath defeated challenger Kevin Battle by 222 votes. Kaenrath was sent to Augusta for a fourth term by 2,092 residents, while 1,870 voted for Battle.

Kaenrath’s fellow incumbents, Kim Monaghan-Derrig in District 121 and Terry Morrison in District 122, will also return for another term. It will be the third term for Morrison and the first full term for Monaghan-Derrig, who won a special election in 2011 to fill Cynthia Dill’s vacated seat.

Democrat Rebecca Millett will head to Augusta for the first time to fill another seat formerly held by Dill, District 7 of the Maine State Senate. Millett, of Cape Elizabeth, defeated Republican Mike Wallace of South Portland. As of Wednesday morning, Scarborough had not posted voting results. But in Cape Elizabeth and South Portland, Millett held a 12,606 to 6,751 advantage.

Millett said she will now transition from “campaign mode” to focusing on legislative policy. The primary concern from constituents she talked to on the campaign trail, she said, was the economy.

“There were people who were really struggling. Some folks were frustrated by the cuts that were made to MaineCare. Seniors were having issues. People had been on unemployment, for temporary assistance they had a hard time qualifying. It would be great if we can take a look at that,” Millett said.

Although there was some turnover in names, there was no change in party affiliation for representatives in both state houses from South Portland and Cape Elizabeth.

But statewide, Democrats gained momentum in the 2012 election. They took back a majority in the Maine Legislature and the state Senate that Republicans had won in 2010.

South Portland and Cape Elizabeth voters favored Obama overRomneybymorethana2-1margin.Obamareceived 13,974 votes between the city and town, while 6,265 voted for Romney.

South Portland and Cape Elizabeth residents also overwhelmingly supported legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine, and they voted yes on each of the statewide bond issues.

As of Wednesday morning, three of the four bond issues had passed statewide. Question 2, which would approve additional funds for the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System, was too close to call.

Matt Wickenheiser, director of college relations for Southern Maine Community College in South Portland, said in a written statement $954,000 of the $11.3 million bond would go toward improving one of the college’s buildings at its mid-coast campus in Brunswick. The bond is especially important, he said, because funds voters approved for the Maine Community College system in a 2010 ballot measure have been frozen.

“SMCC has one budget to serve all of its locations, and that budget is extremely tight. Funds for the repairs and improvement of facilities across the college are sorely needed,” Wickenheiser wrote.

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