Battle to control Legislature in final hours

Races for control of Maine's legislature

AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Maine voters have been overwhelmed by political commercials for Congressional candidates, referendum questions, and even the presidential candidates. But some of the most intense campaigns are less obvious, unless you happen to live in a particular state Senate district.

Across Maine, Democrats and Republicans are fighting for control of the next Legislature, and in particular, control of the state Senate. Republicans currently hold a five-vote majority in the Senate, but Democrats are not winning an aggressive and costly campaign to retake control of the upper chamber.

One of the most visible examples is in Senate District 11, where GOP Senate President Mike Thibodeau is running for reelection against Democrat Jonathan Fulford, whom he defeated two years ago by just 135 votes.

Democrats and their supporters have poured a lot of money into that race, in hopes of unseating Thibodeau. Outside spending in the race, according to the Maine Ethics Commission, totals more than $198,000. Thibodeau told NEWS CENTER he and Republicans have been outspent in the face, as they have on the overall Senate campaign.

The Ethics Commission says total spending by outside groups for the Senate totals more than $2.2 million, and that does not count what candidates themselves have raised and spent. Thibodeau says that, overall, Republicans are being outspent by Democrats, 3-to-1.

Thibodeau, however, remains confident.

"We have Democrats on their heels once again, because we've got the right message," he said.

His Democratic counterpart, not surprisingly, has the opposite view.

"We believe, on the Democratic side, that we are going to regain the majority," Senate Democratic leader Justin Alfond said. "Other Democrats have also predicted the party will take over the Senate."

All those candidates are expected to be going nearly non-stop until polls close on Election Day.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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