Secretary of State Charlie Summers and State Senator Cynthia Dill won their respective primaries last night, filling out the final roster of candidates to fill the U.S. Senate seat of outgoing Senator Olympia Snowe.
Summers rose to the top of a six-way field, finishing with nearly 30% of the vote in an extremely low turnout election. Dill won with approximately 44% in her four-way race, racing neck-in-neck with former Secretary of State Matt Dunlap for most of the night before pulling away at the end.
Summers fought off Maine Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who trailed close behind Summers for most of the night. In the end, Summers’ dominance in Southern Maine put him over the top.
Poliquin, Scott D’Amboise, and Assistant Senate Majority Leader Deb Plowman appear to have split the Conservative vote, while Summers significantly outperformed his fellow moderates Rick Bennett and Bill Schneider. Schneider finished second-to-last in the six-way race, a disappointing finish for the candidate that carried the support and campaign infrastructure of Olympia Snowe.
Now that the field is set, many believe this race will hinge on whether or not Angus King gets actually vetted, either by the press, his opposing candidates, or third-party political groups. King’s personal relationship with Maine Today Media owner Donald Sussman likely means he’ll get a free pass from at least the southern Maine press, underscoring the importance of fundraising for the other candidates to provide a balanced review of the field.