No surprises in county legislative races

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Piscataquis County results came in slowly on Election Night.
    But after numbers from the first few towns trickled in, it became apparent that it was going to be a Republican sweep for state legislative offices.

    Paul Davis of Sangerville, who gave up a relatively-safe Maine House seat to run for the Senate, cruised to victory over Democrat David Ziemer of Orneville Township by a 75-25 percent margin.
    Davis, a retired state trooper and the former chief deputy at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, had served four terms in the Senate previously, including one as minority leader.
    Ziemer, an educational tech at School Administrative District 41, was making his first run for public office.
    “I’m very excited, very thankful and anxious to get to work,” Davis told the Observer. “I’m even more pleased because the Republicans won the (Maine) Senate. You can get a lot more things done when you’re in the majority.”
    Barring any recounts, Republicans have a 20-15 advantage in the Maine Senate.
    Davis served many years on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, but said that he’d also like to serve on the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee during the upcoming session. “These are things that are very important to our county,” he said.
    Norman Higgins of Dover-Foxcroft, a retired school superintendent and former chair of his hometown board of selectmen, won the House District 120 seat by a 65-35 percent margin over Democrat Donald Crossman of Milo, the chair of the SAD 41 Board of Directors.
    “I feel good and I appreciate everyone’s support,” Higgins said. “I’m very pleased that I carried Milo and Brownville because I made a special effort to meet as many folks as I could in those communities.”
    Like Davis, Higgins said that he’d prefer to serve on committees where legislation would have a direct impact on Piscataquis County. “While agriculture and forestry are certainly important, there are other things that have a significant impact on the region such as energy costs, health care and expansion of broadband Internet service,” he said.
    Crossman’s best showing was in Lake View Plantation where he won by a vote of 37-22 and in his hometown of Milo where he received 47 percent of the vote.
    Paul Stearns of Guilford, who is also a retired school superintendent, ran unopposed on the Republican ticket for House District 119, the seat previously held by Davis.
    As expected, Gov. Paul LePage did very well in Maine’s prime GOP stronghold. With 57 percent of the popular vote, the incumbent governor finished far ahead of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (34 percent) and Eliot Cutler (9 percent) in Piscataquis County.
    There were similar margins in the Second Congressional District where Republican Bruce Poliquin won 53 percent of the vote against Democrat Emily Cain’s 35 percent and independent Blaine Richardson’s 12 percent.
    Incumbent U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ 75-25 margin of victory over Democrat Shenna Bellows was echoed in the Piscataquis County results. Collins took 85 percent of the vote in Shirley where nearly three out of four registered voters showed up at the polls.
    Wellington, with 177 registered voters, turned out to be the only bright spot for Democrats in the county. Michaud and Cain both carried the community, but Collins and Davis prevailed for the GOP.
    Wellington is also part of Somerset County-based House District 118, and the Democratic nominee — Matthew Quinn of Cornville — outdistanced incumbent Republican Rep. Larry Dunphy of Embden 55-45 percent. Dunphy was reelected to his third term by a margin of 63-37 percent.

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.