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The election is over. What's next for Maine Republicans?

With Democrats keeping the Blaine House and Legislature, Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Aroostook, said Republicans need to craft a vision that works for the whole state.

AUGUSTA, Maine — With Election Day come and gone and Democrats keeping the Blaine House and Legislature, Maine Republicans have to decide what's next for their party. 

A vision

Sen. Trey Stewart, R-Aroostook, told NEWS CENTER Maine that while Republicans are disappointed with the results, they need to craft a vision that works for the entire state. 

"This is obviously a different place than we had hoped to be, but at the same time, we still have a job to do, particularly those of us that are in the Legislature. I expect that things will start moving pretty quickly," he said, noting leadership is being selected in the Legislature this week. 

The Republican, who was just reelected to serve in State Senate District 2, said he's looking forward to seeing what leadership he'll be working with. 

"We need to craft a vision for the future of Maine," he said. And it needs to be a vision that captures what real people care about, not pundits, the senator added. 

Future bipartisanship

"I'm new to leadership in the [Maine] Senate. I don't think there's any reason we can't start off on a good foot here," Stewart said. 

The Republican noted Democrats said some awful things about him in the past — and he said some Dems probably feel like the GOP said bad things about them. 

"It's unfortunate elections have come to that," he said. 

But he added lawmakers should be able to put campaigns and partisan politics behind them. 

"My caucus is full of really talented people that bring a lot of experience to the table," he said. 

Credit: NEWS CENTER Maine

Election results

While disappointed in the overall results of Election Day, Stewart said there is "some hope." 

Mainers north of Bangor seem to agree with GOP principles, according to the senator. That's the message Republicans took away on the state House side of things. The Maine GOP controls everything north of Bangor in the House, Stewart said. 

So, Republicans are focusing on issues important to those folks. But Stewart said the party needs a vision that works for the rest of the state as well. 

Ray Richardson of WLOB Radio pointed out on Sunday's Capitol Brew that former Gov. Paul LePage got roughly the same number of votes last week as he did when he won his second term in 2014, while Gov. Janet Mills surpassed her winning totals of four years ago.

A LePage supporter, Richardson said Republicans had some very good candidates in legislative races this year. They were outspent by Democrats, but Richardson still finds the electoral outcome a mystery. 

"The economy has historically been a Republican issue. It is struggling in Maine as it is across the country, and that didn't matter," Richardson said.

Issues important to Mainers

Stewart told NEWS CENTER Maine that voters in his district are concerned about the cost of energy, the cost of groceries, and the cost to put fuel in their tanks. 

From his perspective, lawmakers need to be addressing those challenges, even if folks in southern Maine thought other issues were more important during the 2022 election. 

The Republican said it's his job to convince Mills to address the aforementioned problems. He also wants to convince Mills to "[get] folks back to work instead of, you know, continuing free money handouts at the state level." 

He added, "I think if we continue down that path, it's gonna be a really bad one for the state and the future." 

Stewart said in terms of energy costs, it's time to stop playing favorites and put ratepayers first. Those are basic ideas to his constituents, but the senator said they're really important ones." 


When it comes to Republicans addressing issues like energy and fuel costs in the Legislature, Stewart said numbers would be one of the biggest obstacles. Democrats will control both chambers during the upcoming session. 

"If you want to just ram things through, it's not gonna work that way for Republicans. What we have to do is be more convincing to the majority party," he said. 

GOP lawmakers will have to be more convincing that the things they want are the same things Mainers want, according to Stewart. And he's convinced, for the most part, they're going to succeed in that message. 

"It's just a question then of, 'Do the powers that be in Augusta listen to that message and listen to the Maine people we're representing?' These ideas shouldn't be just tossed away by the left. They should be taken seriously, and the caucus members we have should be taken seriously," the senator said. 

On Wednesday, Maine Democrats issued a statement that read, in part: 

"Yesterday, Mainers voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot. Our candidates surpassed pundits’ expectations and are ready to go back to work to fight for Maine people — in Augusta and in Washington, D.C." 

The Legislature will convene on Dec. 7. 

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