NEWPORT, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Tuesday's Presidential election results have revived the long argument about the "Two Maine's," with the markedly different vibe results between the southern Maine First Congressional District and the Second District, which covers most of western, northern and central Maine, including most of the rural areas.
The Donald Trump campaign targeted CD 2, which is the political shorthand for that District, as a way to win another electoral college vote. Maine is one of only two states that allow the electoral votes to be split by Congressional district. While it had never happened before, the strategy actually worked on Tuesday as Trump won CD2 by a comfortable margin, and gained the single electoral vote. Hillary Clinton won this state as a whole and emerged with three electoral votes. Those votes are the result of a large win for Clinton in CD 1, typically considered more liberal than the second district.
On Wednesday, NEWS CENTER talked with voters in several randomly selected towns in each district. Their comments followed the voting trend: those in CD 2 were mostly pleased with Trump's victory, while those in CD1 described it as "horrible".
The differences reflect the political divisions between the districts, even though the Second District still is home to more in Democrats than Republicans, according to enrollment data from the Secretary of State. But most analysts agree that CD2 has grown more conservative in recent years. That may be partly due to the ongoing economic struggle of the rural areas, particularly the decline of paper mills and forest industry jobs. At the same time, younger people have continued to move away, businesses decline and the population has grown steadily older. During the same period, major areas of CD1 have become more prosperous, with new jobs and a steadily larger share of the population.
Even a visitor from Canada commented on that for NEWS CENTER's Don Carrigan on Wednesday. The man from Halifax said he understood why people in CD2, or Maine, in general, would be angry at the continued decline of their region, and turn to a candidate like Donald Trump to search for ways to fix the problems.
The Trump vote margin on Tuesday contributed to the victory by Republican Bruce Poliquin in the Second District race for Congress. The rematch between Poliquin and Democrat Emily Cain was predicted to be a close one but ultimately was not close, as Poliquin held a 10-point lead over Cain for most of the night's vote counting. The campaigns said the Trump turnout did make a difference but also said their own extensive get out the vote efforts clearly got voters to the polls. And while the turnout generated by the Presidential race may have also helped so-called "down-ballot" races for the Legislature, some races defied the trend. In Aroostook County, where many towns voted for Poliquin, Democrats won two Senate seats currently held by Republicans. On the other hand, Republicans won a seat in the Rumford area of western Maine that had been in Democratic hands for years.
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