Breaking: Democrat Eloise Vitelli Wins Maine Senate District 19 Special Election

Posted on August 27, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Eloise Vitelli chosen as Democratic candidate for Dist. 19 special election on Aug. 27. Seen here with David Sinclair (left) and Will Neilson (right). Photo credit to Times Record.

Eloise Vitelli chosen as Democratic candidate for Dist. 19 special election on Aug. 27. Seen here with David Sinclair (left) and Will Neilson (right). Photo credit to Times Record.

10 pm Update: Democrat Eloise Vitelli is projected to be the winner of the SD 19 special election with a 4621 vote total over Paula Benoit’s 4339 and Daniel Stromgren’s 357 tallies.

Senate President Justin Alfond released the following statement:

    “Congratulations to Eloise on her win tonight. As someone who has helped thousands of Mainers get to work and start businesses, Eloise is the right person for the job as Maine’s next State Senator. I know she will stand up for the people of her community, and I look forward to working with her as we help grow our economy and put more Mainers back to work.

    The people of Maine spoke strongly tonight. They want lawmakers who are going to stand up to the LePage approach and instead work collaboratively to get things done to move our state forward.”

=====

7pm Update via BDN: Earlier reports of ballot shortages were erroneous. Extremely high turnout continues to be seen in all districts:

    Topsham Town Clerk Ruth Lyons said at 5:30 p.m. that turnout was “huge.” However, despite reports by other media, Topsham did not run out of ballots, Lyons said.

    At 5:30 p.m., Topsham still had 1,500 to 2,000 blank ballots, as well as another 600 absentee ballots at the town office, “if it came to that,” Lyons said

    Clerks all over the district, which includes all of Sagadahoc County and the Lincoln County town of Dresden, said they had seen high numbers of voters.

    In this special election, clerks and poll workers will count the ballots by hand, which could slow the reporting of results, some election officials said.

5PM Update shows very high turnout and even one municipality running out of ballots:

    Voters are turning out in surprisingly large numbers across Senate District 19 today as residents decide who should fill the year remaining on the term of Sen. Seth Goodall.

    In Topsham, where officials eventually ran out of ballots, Ruth Lyons, the top voting official, said turnout was “heavy” at 11 a.m. In Bowdoin, the town clerk counted 150 ballots this morning and predicted higher turnout than for the June school referendums in that town.

    In Bath, City Clerk Mary Small said turnout had been “brisk.” By 3:30, Small said that 1,500 ballots, including absentee ballots, had been cast.

    In Topsham, meanwhile, voting was halted temporarily because the polling place had run out of ballots.

Goodall-headshot-colorWhen now former Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall announced in June that he was accepting the New England Regional SBA Administrator position, that set up the need for a special election to fill his Senate District 19 (Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Georgetown, Perkins Twp., Phippsburg, Richmond, Topsham, West Bath, and Woolwich in Sagadahoc County and Dresden in Lincoln County) seat.

There are three candidates vying for the coveted spot, which Goodall held for three terms: Former State Senator Republican Paula Benoit of Phippsburg (who served previously from 2006-8 and was defeated by Goodall), Maine Women’s Hall of Fame Democrat Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic, the Program and Policy Development Maine Centers Director for Women, Work, and Community, and Green Independent Daniel Longley Stromgren of Topsham. All three ran as Maine Clean Election Act candidates.

While Vitelli, who has spent decades working for Maine people and fostering women’s business growth efforts, has won endorsements from Bath Iron Works, International Association of Machinists—Maine Lobstermen, Local 207, Rep. Chellie Pingree and even had Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Congressman Mike Michaud out knocking on doors for her campaign, former Blaine House director, Baxter LePage blogger and First Lady Ann LePage’s assistant Paula Benoit has found herself caught in the latest controversy caused by Governor Paul LePage (PPH, “Republican lawmakers: LePage said Obama ‘hates white people'”):

paula baxter

    Benoit said Thursday that LePage’s alleged comment about President Barack Obama hating white people has been overhyped by the media and is distracting voters from more important issues such as jobs, taxes and economic development.

“[The LePage controversy] isn’t affecting this election from where I stand,” said Benoit. “I’m just meeting people and going door to door and talking about myself. I’m not talking about the governor. All I say is that he sees a light at the end of the tunnel; it’s just that his message gets distorted.”

Several GOP insiders, however, have told the BDN that there is grave concern within the party that the latest LePage controversy will tip the race toward the Democrat Vitelli, so no one will talk about the issue publicly before the election.

Whether or not those in attendance will indeed come forward publicly remains to be seen; for his own part, Governor LePage offered a “non-apology” apology to Republican legislators. Benoit at a debate last week made numerous judgmental and disparaging remarks about her experiences meeting with SD 19 constituents while knocking on doors, echoing LePage’s infamous “get off the couch and get a job” speech at last year’s Maine Republican Party convention.

Polls opened at 8-10 am, depending on town, and all will close tonight at 8 pm.

Eloise Vitelli, Paula Benoit and Daniel Stromgren. Photo via Times Record (Twitter).

Eloise Vitelli, Paula Benoit and Daniel Stromgren. Photo via Times Record (Twitter).

Turnout for the special election is already seemingly very high:

      Voters are turning out in surprisingly large numbers across Senate District 19 today as residents decide who should fill the year remaining on the term of Sen. Seth Goodall.

In Topsham, Ruth Lyons, the top voting official called the turnout “heavy” at 11 a.m. In Bowdoin, the town clerk predicted a higher turnout than for the June school referendums.

Lyons said she would not expect a result before midnight tonight.

3pm UPDATES:

Times Record midcoastnews tweets:

SENATE 19: Topsham vote warden Ruth Lyons calls turnout “heavy.” #mepolitics

SENATE 19: Absentee ballots being counted now, throughout the day, clerk says. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: Topsham election warden Ruth Lyons says result unlikely before midnight. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: Turnout ‘heavy’ as cash gushes at finish line http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2013-08-27/Front_Page/SENATE_19_Turnout_heavy_cash_gushes_at_finish_line.html … #mepolitics

SENATE 19: @bangordailynews and @MidcoastNews to provide up-to-the- minute returns tonight at their sites. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: No electronic counting in municipalities, big absentee counts to push tally late #MePolitics

House Majority Leader Seth Berry @sethberry (who himself considered running for the seat): Fantastic turnout this AM in Bowdoinham; more than half for Vitelli so far. See you at Sagadahoc/Dresden polls before 8 pm! #mepolitics

Megan Hannan ‏@meganhannan: Heavy voter turnout in Bath today! #mepolitics #SD19

POLL RESULTS BY TOWN

Sagadahoc County

Arrowsic:
Vitelli 144, Benoit 58, Stromgren 5.

Bath:
Vitelli 1159, Benoit 1009, Stromgren 68.

Bowdoin:
Benoit 285, Vitelli 213, Stromgren 19.

Bowdoinham:
Vitelli 408, Benoit 320, Stromgren 29.

Georgetown:
Vitelli 226, Benoit 156, Stromgren 14.

Phippsburg:
Benoit 390, Vitelli 315, Stromgren 11.

Richmond:
Vitelli 307, Benoit 280, Stromgren 54.

Topsham:
Vitelli 990, Benoit 924, Stromgren 99.

West Bath:
Benoit 313, Vitelli 275, Stromgren 22.

Woolwich:
Benoit 429, Vitelli 371, Stromgren

Lincoln County

Dresden:
Vitelli 213, Benoit 175, Stromgren 15.

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