Election activity is somewhat limited on this coming Tuesday, March 10th. However, there is a special election in Maine’s 93rd State Representative District, which comprises the towns of Rockland and Owls Head, in Knox County, along the coast. There, Democrat Elizabeth Dickerson was narrowly re-elected to her second two-year term in November, but she had to move out of state, and she resigned her seat in January.
The current party composition of the Maine State House of Representatives is 78 Democrats, 68 Republicans, and 4 Independents. Democrats held 88 of the 151 voting seats just before the November 2014 elections. Maine has a Republican Governor (Paul LePage) and Republicans just won majority control of the State Senate in 2014.
The nominees for special elections in Maine are done by party convention, which produced the following candidates:
- Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center (Dem), former Knox County Commissioner;
- James Kalloch (R) – 2014 GOP nominee and operator of Penobscot Ferry and Transport;
- Ron Huber (Green);
- Shawn Levasseur (Libertarian)
In preparation for this election, I analyzed voter turnout in all state legislative special elections in Maine since 2002. The results of that work is here:
My review of this data found that:
- The decline in total votes cast in 15 Maine state legislative special elections, as compared with the preceding general election for the seat, averaged 49%.
- When one excludes those special elections held in conjunction with Referendum Elections (held in November of odd-numbered years), the decline in total votes cast in the special election, as compared with the preceding general election, was even greater, averaging 57%.
- Maine State Legislative Special Elections held in February or March showed even greater declines in total votes cast, averaging a 61% drop from the preceding general election (5 instances).
If the number of votes on Tuesday is in line with these historical figures, (that is, showing a 55-60% decline from November’s General Election), then I would expect only 1,400-1,600 ballots will be cast.
- Since 2002, only once in six instances did a previously Democratic-held state legislative seat in Maine “flip” over to Republican control in a special election. This happened in Representative District #89 in February 2009 when Lance Harvell (R) won the special election to fill the seat formerly held by Democrat Janet Mills.
- Since 2002, there were five times in nine instances that a previously Republican-held state legislative seat in Maine “flipped” to Democratic control in a special election, but this has occurred only once since President Obama was elected in 2008.