You likely didn’t notice, but yesterday Republican Representatives Dale Crafts of Lisbon, Deb Sanderson of Chelsea, Stacy Guerin of Glenburn, Carol McElwee of Caribou, and Beth Turner of Burlington all won reelection, long before November. In addition, newcomers Paul Sterns and Sheldon Hanington clinched their seats in the Legislature without a vote being cast.
How is this possible? All of them are lucky to have their Democratic opponents withdraw without a replacement being found, so they will be unopposed in the general election.
Prior to redistricting, many of the incumbents above had been targeted heavily for defeat in previous elections. The notorious left-wing group, the Maine People’s Alliance, drew a sharp rebuke from Republicans and Democrats alike for their shocking personal attack against Dale Crafts earlier this year. That mailer would have been geared towards districts the Democrats had hoped to target, not ones they were planning on ignoring.
Deb Sanderson, was in one of the most heavily target races [PDF] of 2012 , when she faced a rematch against the woman she first defeated in 2010. Now, she’s unopposed. Apparently she’s doing such a good job that Democrats couldn’t find anybody else to run against her in the district. Similarly, in Caribou, Carol McElwee narrowly won her seat in 2012; this time she’ll be the only one on the ballot.
This is indicative not only of these legislators doing an excellent job that is appreciated by their constituents, but that the Democratic machine that has gone after them in the past is in disarray. While these seven seats are going uncontested by Democrats, Republicans are leaving just one House seat uncontested in the entire state, boding well for their efforts to recapture the majority this November.