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Maine Gov. Janet Mills wins second term, defeating former GOP Gov. Paul LePage

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills celebrates at her reelection party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Portland, Maine. Mills defeated Republican Paul LePage and independent Sam Hunkler.
Robert F. Bukaty
/
AP
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills celebrates at her reelection party, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Portland, Maine. Mills defeated Republican Paul LePage and independent Sam Hunkler.

Follow live updates and election results here.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Democratic Gov. Janet Mills secured a second term by defeating former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, according to a race call by the Associated Press. LePage was her longtime antagonist who had vowed to challenge her before he left office in 2019. Mills repeatedly clashed with LePage while he was governor and she was state attorney general.

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Mills is Maine's first woman elected governor and her staunch support of abortion rights was a centerpiece of her reelection campaign. She and Democratic interest groups relentlessly framed LePage, an abortion opponent, as an untrustworthy steward of a 29-year old state law that enshrines access to the procedure up until fetal viability.

During a debate, LePage vowed to veto a bill that would limit access up until 15 weeks of pregnancy, but Democrats and abortion opponents alike said the Republican's comments shouldn't be believed.

Mills and Democrats also repeatedly highlighted LePage's long history of false statements and combative conduct that had led some to compare him to former President Donald Trump. LePage, who had aligned with Trump in 2016, made little mention of the former president during the campaign as he sought to rebrand himself as less abrasive and more policy-focused than he was during his eight years as governor.

Mills and Democrats described LePage's self-proclaimed transformation as an election ploy that obscured his intent to govern by chaos and division.

Mills, 74, has governed as a centrist. Her approach sometimes put her at odds with progressive activists, but likely appealed to independent voters, a large and influential part of the Maine electorate.

More Election 2022 coverage:

  • Maine election results
  • Maine Public's Voter Guide
  • Copyright 2022 Maine Public

    Journalist Steve Mistler is MPBN's chief political correspondent and statehouse bureau chief, specializing in the coverage of politics and state government.
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