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What to know about Maine's primary

Posted June 12, 2018 11:07 a.m. EDT

— For the first time, Maine voters will use ranked-choice voting in several major races. Here is what to know about Tuesday's primary.

Ranked-choice voting will be used in four races where there are more than two candidates: the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the Republican gubernatorial primary, the 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary and the Republican State House District 75 primary. All other races have two candidates or are unopposed.

If a candidate in the ranked-choice voting races receives 50 percent, plus one in the initial vote tally, that candidate will be declared the winner. If no candidate receives 50 percent, plus one after the initial tally, the votes are tabulated in rounds until there are two candidates left. The candidate with the majority of votes in the final round is declared a winner.

It is likely it will take several days for winners to be declared in the ranked-choice races. If no candidate receives a majority after the initial tally, the ballots will be taken to Augusta where the ranked-choice tabulation will be conducted by the Maine Secretary of State's Office.

Maine Governor - Democratic Candidates:

Adam Cote: Cote, a Sanford lawyer, was the first Democrat to launch a gubernatorial campaign. The father of five served 21 years in the National Guard. He survived a suicide bombing in Mosul, Iraq that killed 22 people. Cote believes Maine needs someone in the Blaine House who is an outsider. Cote said Maine is primed for economic growth, but more needs to be done to attract and retain workers. Cote wants to invest in broadband, workforce training and finding the next generation of products that will come from the state's "competitive advantages," like forestry, agriculture and aquaculture.

Donna Dion: Dion, of Biddeford, served as the city's mayor for 15 years. She said her skills with people and finance will serve her well in the Blaine House. Dion said she wants to implement user fees for people who own homes in Maine but don't list Maine as their primary residence. She said the fee would help rebuild the state's crumbling infrastructure. Dion said respect is an important part of her campaign. She wants Democrats and Republicans working together to solve the state's problems.

Mark Dion: A former Portland police officer and Cumberland County Sheriff, Dion is well-known in the greater Portland area. After leaving law enforcement, Dion opened a law practice and has served in the Maine Legislature. Dion prides himself on his practical approach to law enforcement and marijuana legalization legislation. Dion said if he is elected governor, he will work to contain the high health care costs Mainers face.

Mark Eves: Former House Speaker Eves said making sure his children have opportunities to stay in Maine as adults is what's driving his bid for governor. Eves said his regional jobs plan has already been proven successful through two training programs at Maine community colleges. Eves is a family therapist who served four terms in the Maine House of Representatives. He often clashed with Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Eves said he is a progressive Democrat, and believes a single-payer health care system can become a reality in Maine. His campaign is the first in Maine to unionize.

Janet Mills: Maine Attorney General Mills said health care is her No. 1 priority, including addressing the state's opioid epidemic. Mills said she would appoint someone to be Maine's point person in the fight against addiction. Mill said as attorney general, she has bought enough doses of naloxone to equip 78 law enforcement agencies with the opioid overdose-reversing medication. Mills has often clashed with Republican Gov. Paul LePage. Her office has refused to represent the LePage administration in court. She hopes to become Maine's first woman governor.

Diane Russell: Russell, of Portland, is probably the most liberal of the Democratic candidates for governor, but said that doesn't mean she can't win the primary. Russell is known for her work to create a commission tasked to reduce the number of Democratic superdelegates by two-thirds before the next presidential election. Russell also supported the efforts to legalize marijuana and adopt ranked-choice voting. Russell said she wants to close corporate loopholes to fight food insecurity. Russell said it is time for a new generation to lead the state in Augusta.

Betsy Sweet: Sweet has lobbied for progressive issues in Augusta for 35 years. She said she has lobbied for people with disabilities, the elderly, women, children and people with low incomes. Sweet said she does not represent for-profit organizations. Sweet is running as a clean elections candidate and wants to get big money out of politics. Sweet helped write Maine's clean elections law and sees it as a way to limit the influence of people with deep pockets. Sweet said she is the right person to fix what is wrong in Augusta.

Maine Governor - Republican Candidates:

Ken Fredette: Fredette is the Minority Leader in the Maine House of Representatives. Fredette lists cutting taxes, adding to Maine's rainy-day fund and lowering the state's unemployment rate among his accomplishments. Fredette said he has an ambitious plan to fight the state's opioid epidemic by increasing the Maine State Police force, paying them more money and use the National Guard to stop drugs at the border. Fredette is a lawyer and serves as a lieutenant colonel and judge advocate general in the Maine Air National Guard.

Garret Mason: Mason is a four-term state senator from Lisbon and has served the past two terms as Senate Majority Leader. Mason said his experience working in his family's excavation business and his time in the Legislature make him the best candidate to advance beyond the primary. Mason is running as a clean elections candidate despite opposing the program in the past. Mason said, "Just because you don't like the rules doesn't mean that you can't -- and you shouldn't - play by them."

Mary Mayhew: Mayhew spent more than six years as the Commissioner of Maine's Department of Health and Human Services under Gov. Paul LePage. She said voters looking to extend LePage's legacy should vote for her. Mayhew takes credit for fixing DHHS's financial woes and implementing welfare reforms that are being mirrors at the national level. Mayhew in order to improve Maine's economy, the government needs to help existing businesses by getting out of their way.

Shawn Moody: Moody turned his talent for fix cars into a successful business. Moody's Collision Centers employ nearly 200 people across Maine who each own a piece of the company's profits. Moody said his business experience is his primary selling point on the campaign trail. Moody ran for governor as an independent eight years ago, but said he is not a politician. Moody's enrollment in the Republican party has drawn criticism from both sides.

U.S. 2nd Congressional District - Democratic Candidates:

Jared Golden: Golden, 36, is a former Marine who served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Golden said he is part of a new generation of leaders and is focused on bipartisanship. He was a staffer on the Senate Homeland Security Committee for Republican Sen. Susan Collins. Golden currently represents part of Lewiston in the Maine House of Representatives.

Craig Olson: Craig Olson lives in Islesboro where he runs a rare book business and operates the town's transfer station. Olson sees health care as a major issue. He battled skin cancer and said the Affordable Care Act helped provide the insurance coverage he needed to recover. Olson said in traveling Maine's 2nd Congressional District, health care is a major concern for voters. Olson said his experience at the local level as a town selectman separates him from his two opponents.

Lucas St. Clair: Lucas St. Clair is best know as an advocate for the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. St. Clair is the son of Burt's Bess co-founder Roaxanne Quimby who donated the land for the national monument. St. Clair said his work on the national monument separates him from his opponents. St. Clair said his focus will be on rural Mainers.

Mainers are being asked to weigh in for a second time on ranked-choice voting. Question 1 asks voters whether they want to continue using ranked-choice voting. Supporters of ranked-choice voting launched a "people's veto" after the Legislature voted to delay its implementation. Maine voters approved ranked-choice voting in a referendum in the November 2016 election.

"If you're in favor of using ranked-choice voting and you want to continue with that, it's a "Yes" vote. If you're not in favor or you want to see the Constitution amended before implementing it, a "No" vote would be appropriate," Kristen Muszynski of the Maine Secretary of State's Office said.

If Question 1 is approved, voters will use ranked-choice voting for all state and federal primary elections, but will only use ranked-choice voting for federal races in general elections.

Last year, the Maine Supreme Court issued an opinion saying ranked-choice voting violates a provision in the Maine Constitution that state races are determined by a plurality.

Other Races:

Waterville Mayor Recall: Voters in Waterville are being asked if they want to recall Mayor Nicholas Isgro. The recall effort was launched after Isgro was accused of sending a disrespectful tweet to Parkland shooting survivor Davis Hogg.

Cumberland County District Attorney: Three Democrats, Jon Gale, of Portland, Seth Levy, of Brunswick, and Frayla Tarpinian, of Windham, are facing off in a primary for Cumberland County District Attorney. Longtime Republican District Attorney Stephanie Anderson is not running for re-election.

School Budget Votes: Voters in Portland, Auburn, Scarborough and Falmouth are being asked to approve school budgets.

Maine Legislature: There are several primaries for both Democrats and Republicans running for the Maine House and Senate. The House Democratic primaries are in districts 2, 12, 13, 21, 30, 32, 40, 56, 65, 70, 88, 97, 99 and 109. The House Republican primaries are in districts 75, 84, 100, 102, 108, 110 and 141. The Senate Democratic primaries are in districts 7, 11, 15, 16, 17 and 28. There are no Senate Republican primaries.