On June 12, 2018, Maine will conduct primary elections for Governor, state legislature, U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate by ranked choice voting.
The Maine governor seat will be open for the first time since 2010, when Paul LePage won the Republican nomination with 37 percent support and went on to win the general election with 38 percent support. Both the Democratic and Republican primaries are hotly contested in 2018, with seven Democrats and four Republicans seeking the office. Three candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination for the Second Congressional District.
The Maine League of Women Voters, in partnership with Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, provides voter education resources for the upcoming elections at mainerankedchoice.vote.
A recent SurveyUSA poll commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Maine asked respondents to rank the candidates seeking their party's nomination for Governor and (for Democrats) for Congressional District 2. For Democrats, the poll showed a strong lead for Maine Attorney General Janet Mills for Governor and for Lucas St. Clair for CD-2. For Republicans, the poll showed businessman Shawn Moody leading the field for Governor. More than 1,100 likely Maine primary voters participated in the poll.
About 23.5 percent of voters are undecided, showing that the race could still change significantly. Among those who ranked the candidates, Janet Mills received 41.2 percent of first choices, a two-to-one advantage over her closest rival, former Maine House Speaker Mark Eves (20.4 percent). Former Biddleford Mayor Donna Dion polled in last place with 3 percent. The round-by-round RCV results show the successive elimination of Dion first, then Diane Russell, Betswy Sweet, Adam Cote, and finally Mark Dion. As the field narrows to two candidates, Mills wins with backing from 65.6 percent of the remaining respondents, compared to 34.4 percent for Eves.
About 22 percent of voters are undecided. Among those who ranked their choices, Shawn Moody received 43.7 percent of first choices, nearly double the support of his closest competitor, former Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew (24.2 percent). Maine House Member Ken Fredette was in last place with 12.6 percent. After eliminating Fredette, Garrett Mason is narrowly in last place with 25.1 percent, while Moody approaches a majority with 49 percent. With Mason eliminated, Moody wins in the final round with 65.5 percent to Mayhew's 34.5 percent.
This nomination contest has two clear frontrunners, Lucas St. Clair and Jared Golden, who are joined on the ballot by Craig Olson. When the poll was conducted, there was a fourth candidate, Jonathan Fulford, but he has since withdrawn. Because voters ranked their choices, we can still show accurate round-by-round poll results even with the change in candidate makeup, under the assumption that voters who ranked Fulford highest would have ranked their next choice highest instead, had Fulford not been an option. Shown in this way, we have a very close contest. In first choices, St. Clair leads Golden 47.7 percent to 41.6 percent, but there are more than eight times as many undecided voters as the margin between them. When Olson is eliminated, more of his supporters rank Golden next than St. Clair, but St. Clair still earns enough support to beat Golden in the final round 51.7 percent to 48.3 percent.