Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is projected to win reelection for a fifth Senate term, defeating Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. The race appeared close leading into the election, with only a point or two separating the candidates in the latest polls. Because Maine uses ranked-choice ballots, Collins needed to win with over 50% of the vote to avoid a ranked-choice voting situation.
At 1:13 p.m. Eastern time, Decision Desk HQ projected that Collins would win her seat and meet that 50% threshold. Collins made a speech on Wednesday afternoon and revealed that Gideon had conceded the race with a “very gracious call,” New York Times reporter Emily Cochrane shared on Twitter.
Heavy has partnered with Decision Desk HQ for live election results across the country. Follow along with the results for the Maine Senate race below:
See Below for Live Senate Election Results From Maine & a Map of the Votes Throughout the State
The live results of the Senate race in Maine can be viewed in the widget available below, courtesy of Heavy’s partners at Decision Desk HQ. You can hover over the counties on the map to see localized results:
As previously mentioned, the state will be the first to use a ranked-ballot system to decide the Senate election, unlike the “first past the post” system used in the rest of the country. In races with more than two candidates, voters in Maine will rank the candidates on the ballot from their first to their last choice, FiveThirtyEight explains. If no candidate receives a majority, the one with the fewest votes will be eliminated, and everyone who voted for that candidate will see their vote redistributed to their second choice, and so on until a candidate receives 50% plus one vote.
Because there are more than two candidates on the ballot for the Senate race in Maine, the ranked-ballot system could have had an impact on the race. Neither Collins, who is considered the most liberal Republican in the Senate, nor Gideon was able to pull ahead of the other in polls, making voters’ second choice on the ballot more relevant, The New York Times pointed out. The outlet reported that progressive Lisa Savage, one of the independent candidates running for the seat, has been asking her supporters to list Gideon in second place on their ballots.
Maine voters were able to submit their ballots by mail or in person, with early voting beginning October 5. WGME reported that nearly 40% of registered voters had voted early, meaning almost 420,000 ballots were already submitted by Election Day. Maine election officials have also been able to begin processing the ballots in the week prior to November 3, which means that many areas of Maine were able to report the results on election night, the Sun Journal reported.
Gideon Had a Slight Lead Over Collins in the Latest Polls Heading Into November 3
The latest polls showed Gideon with a small lead on Collins, with neither achieving the 50% needed to avoid a ranked-choice voting situation. FiveThirtyEight showed a poll from Emerson College on November 1 that had Gideon leading Collins by two points, 48% to 46%.
An October 29 poll from SurveyUSA, another A-rated poll, showed Gideon leading Collins by just one point, 46% to 45%. When second- and third-choice votes from supporters of other candidates were redistributed, Gideon ended up ahead by two points, 51% to 49%. The poll found that 55% of Savage’s supporters had Gideon as their second choice while another independent, Max Linn, saw his supporters roughly split between ranking Gideon or Collins second.
The Incumbent Is Susan Collins, Who Is Considered the Most Liberal Republican & Who Won Her Past Several Terms With a Comfortable Margin
Collins is seeking her fifth term, and past Senate races saw her win comfortably, each time with double-digit margins since her first win in 1996 when she had just a five-point margin over her opponent, Maine Public reported. However, she has struggled to maintain support from voters in the past few months, and in 2019 the race went from “leaning Republican” to a “toss-up,” according to the non-partisan Cook Report.
The Senate race, which has been the most expensive in Maine’s history, saw Gideon attacking Collins over her vote to confirm Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Trump’s handling of the pandemic and more, The Times reported. Recently, Collins was the only Republican to vote against confirming Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
In the House of Representatives, Two Maine Democrats are Defending Their Seats
Maine has two seats in the House of Representatives, each held by a Democratic incumbent. Representative Jared Golden in the 2nd Congressional District will return to the House of Representatives for a second term, as Decision Desk called that race for him, over Republican Dale Crafts.
Representative Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District is looking to defeat Republican Jay Allen to win her seventh term in Congress.
The results of these House races can be viewed in the widget below provided by Decision Desk HQ. Simply select Maine in the dropdown menu or click the state on the country map provided. Hovering over a district will show the results of that particular race:
For those looking for Maine’s 2020 presidential election results, the widget below shows the popular vote in the state:
Maine’s secretary of state website will also have the local race results available.