Shawn Moody got 50% of the votes on election night
Phil Harriman: I thought the election was going to be significantly influenced by who, on the Republican side, voted for their second or their third choice. On election night, he [got 50% of the vote] which, frankly, I was surprised. I thought there was enough surging by Garrett Mason who appears to have been a much stronger candidate than appeared. I thought Mary Mayhew's support was rock solid in that it wasn't going to migrate. I didn't think Ken Fredette had more than six or seven percent of the vote, which was pretty accurate in the end. I really felt there was a possibility between Garrettt Mason and Mary Mathew, they would pull Sean Moody below 50 percent, and that, in fact, did not happen.
John Richardson: I think in the case of Republicans, it worked out really well because you're likely to have a candidate who wins by majority. And I think what happened was, Mary Mayhew, as soon as Shawn Moody got in, you saw a lot of defections of Mayhew supporters to Shawn Moody. It was really signaled or telegraphed by former LePage campaign members, that they were moving on to Moody, so that's when you saw a lot of defections from Mayhew. I'm not surprised by Shawn's strong support at the polls, but I'm surprised he got over 50 percent.
Thoughts on ranked-choice voting's first run
Phil Harriman: I think if you're political junkies like I am and John Richardson are, you dig beneath the story and you see that ranked-choice voting wasn't an organic message off of Main Street Maine. It was a lot of big money on the progressive side of the state. Maine's an easy place to buy airtime to influence voters and they came in and got it passed. The legislature said, 'Wait, we're going to repeal some of it.' They came back in with the big money and in this campaign, they confused voters. I think if you asked the average person in Maine, 'Did you decide that you wanted ranked-choice voting, and you got involved and organized the campaign?', most of them would say, 'I have no idea what you're talking about.'
John Richardson: I actually was in support of it, but I think really what happened was this is a referendum on the conduct of the legislature; how the voters perceive the legislature was doing. This was their one opportunity absent the November election to say, 'We're not happy with what has gone on. We're not happy with you ignoring our votes in past referendums and we're going to send you a message.' So I think many people supported ranked-choice voting for what it stands for. But I also think there was a large number of people that thought this is a way to protest if you will, the legislature and its failure to do a number of things that it hasn't accomplished so far this session.
I do think ranked-choice is working as its intended and in the primary. We'll see now, in the Democratic primary, whether ranked-choice is working as intended. Somebody's gonna get 50% of the vote. No doubt about it. But the question will be whether the person who got the polarity of the vote, meaning who's in the lead at the end of the night, will they also be the person that ends up getting 50% of the vote? If there is, then I think it's worked. If not, there might be some issues.