MAINE, USA — With 85 percent of Maine votes counted, the Associated Press has called the presidential race in Maine—former Vice President Joe Biden won the state's popular vote and the 1st Congressional District, while President Donald Trump claimed the 2nd Congressional District.
Maine is unique when it comes to general elections—it’s one of just two states that doesn’t apply the “winner take all” method for the Electoral College. Instead, Maine’s four votes are split: two at-large electoral votes for the popular vote winner statewide, and one for each Congressional District.
This means Biden gets three electoral votes and Trump gets one. A candidate needs 270 electoral votes, a simple majority, to win the presidency.
The presidential race in Maine used ranked-choice voting, becoming the first state in U.S. history to do so. With ranked-choice voting, a candidate had to win 50 percent or more of the vote, otherwise, it would run off into tabulation.
Three other candidates were on the ballot in Maine: Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian), Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente (Alliance Party), and Howard Hawkins (Green Party).
Results show Biden with 53 percent of the overall popular vote, so there won't be a need for ranked-choice tabulation.
Similarly, in the Congressional Districts, Biden won 60.3 percent of the counted votes in CD-1, while Trump won 51.6 percent in CD-2.
Maine's electoral votes were divided the same way in the 2016 race between Trump and Hillary Clinton, Clinton claiming the popular vote and CD-1, with Trump winning CD-2.
The popular vote and CD-1 were essentially a sure thing for Biden, but both the Trump and Biden campaigns fought for the chance to claim CD-2, which generally leans Republican. Trump-endorsed Republican candidate for the 2nd District Dale Crafts, however, lost his race to Democratic incumbent Rep. Jared Golden. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, won her re-election bid in the 1st District.
On Wednesday after the AP had called the race, Biden Maine campaign senior adviser Spencer Thibodeau said despite losing the 2nd District, the campaign feels they achieved their voter turn out goal, and are proud of the relationships they were able to build in the more rural areas of Maine.
Surrogates for the Biden campaign such as Biden's wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and Biden's running mate Kamala Harris' husband Doug Emhoff made multiple campaign stops to the 2nd District.
Thibodeau says Emhoff and Dr. Biden meeting with various lobstermen, farmers, and business leaders in those areas like Presque Isle and Blue Hill was vital in forming those relationships and says those stops put pressure on the Trump campaign to step up their efforts in the district as well.
"We ran a really strong race that had our opposition concerned," Thibodeau said.
Trump himself made a campaign stop in Levant in the final stretch of the election, and his sons, Eric and Don Jr., as well as Vice President Mike Pence, also campaigned multiple times in the 2nd District to rally Republican support for the President.
Maine Republican Party Chair Dr. Demi Kouzounas in a statement also commented on the record voter turnout, which she says is thanks to the "tenacious campaigning."
"For the past four years our team has worked tirelessly to build the largest volunteer Army Maine has ever seen. From Kittery to Fort Kent and everywhere in between, our ground game had a strong presence, talking to voters in their communities about the issues that mattered to them," Kouzounas said. "Whether it was rain, shine, or snow, nothing would stop our team, resulting in a record-setting 2.7+ million voter contacts during the 2020 election. This tenacious campaigning paid dividends up and down the ballot for Maine Republicans, and I want to thank each and everyone one of our volunteers for making a massive impact on the 2020 election."
"President Trump has fought tirelessly for the people of Maine and Mainers have noticed," Kouzounas also said. "From building the greatest economy America has ever seen, to freeing up our oceans for lobstering, and supporting our Second Amendment rights, President Trump has always stood with Mainers and Mainers stand with President Trump."
In a statement Wednesday, RNC Spokesperson Andrew Mahaleris said, “Maine’s Second Congressional District supported President Trump in 2016 because he promised to deliver for them. President Trump kept that promise, and Mainers in the Second Congressional District delivered for him."
Thibodeau says Maine has done its part in contributing to electing the next president, but the race to 270 continues—and it's still too soon to call who will win the presidency. Millions of votes still have yet to be counted in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Michigan.
"We want to be clear that the American people are going to pick the next president," Thibodeau said. "Biden is going to fight for every single vote to be counted."