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Political Brew: The Q1 results, breaking a tie and the message from election night

Our analysts this week are Ray Richardson of WLOB Radio and attorney and longtime WGAN Morning Show co-host Ken Altshuler.

MAINE, USA — Opponents of the Central Maine Power hydroelectricity transmission line project won a resounding victory as the Yes on One campaign prevailed Tuesday night by about 18 points.

"I think people just basically don't trust CMP," Ken Altshuler said, calling the defeat "a colossal PR failure" by the utility.

He believes this doesn't bode well for the company if, as expected, Mainers vote next year on a proposal to take over CMP and Versant Power to create a public utility.

"I think you're going to see 60% of the people saying 'CMP is bad, we don't need them anymore, let's do it ourselves when we have no capability of doing it.'"

Ray Richardson feels the failure by CMP was to allow corridor opponents to define the issue. He thinks "the opponents got in bed with big oil and told a lot of lies early on, and the lies became the truth."

A Portland City Council race ended in a tie, so a winner was chosen Thursday by a game of chance. After the ranked-choice counting on election night, Roberto Rodriguez and Brandon Mazer were tied. Mazer was declared the winner when his name was drawn from a bowl by the city clerk.
Rodriguez requested a recount, which is set for Tuesday.

Our analysts said this is no way to settle an election.

Richardson feels "If you want a 50% candidate, the way to do that is to do a runoff 30 or 45 days later, which many states do."

And Altshuler agrees.

"You have to do a runoff. You cannot flip a coin or draw names."

Across the country, Republicans had a very good election night.
In Virginia, Republican Glenn Youngkin beat former Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor, helping to turn that state red again.
Altshuler said that was "a shot across the bow for all Democrats in the country."

He believes the outcome in Virginia shows that "the majority of people in America agree with Donald Trump's policies, they may not have liked him, but they like his policies."

But he doesn't see this as any particular threat to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, saying "I think this election in Maine is going to turn on Janet Mills having a tremendous amount of federal money at her disposal. When it comes to Maine voters, if they're feeling comfortable in their pocketbook, they reelect incumbents."

Richardson thinks there is a threat to Mills in the Virginia outcome, saying that after President Trump's 2020 loss, a lot of Republicans "were disgusted with the system, just weren't going to vote anymore. I think this brought them back to the table."

Richardson believes former Gov. Paul LePage will win next year if he stays focused on the issues.

"I think he beats her," Richardson said, "because clearly what you saw in Virginia is that people don't like those outlandish Democratic policies, and (Mills) has been part of them."

Our analysts also discuss the impact of Democrats flipping a House seat in Augusta, the impact of the "right to food" constitutional amendment that passed by a wide margin, and the fight in Washington over creating a system of paid family leave.

Political Brew airs Sundays on NEWS CENTER Maine's Morning Report.