With Win In Maine Race, Democrats Now Control All 21 House Seats In New England, Republicans Have Zero

Montpelier, Vermont.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

The states that comprise the region of the country known as “New England” are known to be reliable Democratic Party strongholds. Following the results of last week’s midterm elections, that’s now even more noticeably true.

The states that compose the region of New England are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. And after last week’s elections, in none of those states did a single Republican win a seat to the House of Representatives, according to a Twitter post from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.

Democrats swept the elections for House races in all six of those states. One last race, which was finally determined on Thursday, came down to new elections rules that now exist in the state of Maine. That race ended in a win for Democratic candidate Jared Golden, who ousted incumbent Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the state’s 2nd Congressional district.

Poliquin was, up until today, leading Golden by a slim margin. But Maine recently instituted ranked-choice voting (RCV), which means that a candidate must win a majority of votes before being selected to serve. If a candidate doesn’t have a majority, voters who selected a candidate with the least amount of votes get their second choices counted in a second round of voting. This continues until a candidate has a clear majority of votes.

Republicans had tried to sue to prevent Maine from instituting its RCV rules for this race, but a judge ruled against their lawsuit — and ordered the process to go forward. After it had, the additional votes tallied from voters who had selected candidates well-below the losing threshold showed that Golden had defeated Poliquin by a margin of 50.53 percent to 49.47 percent, according to reporting from Common Dreams.

After that race was determined a win for Democrats, it was clear that a sweep of all six states’ House races had occurred.

The historic event of RCV determining an electoral outcome was not lost on several observers who were watching this race. “The first time ranked-choice voting is used in the state of Maine [and] we’ll have an instance where it will have made a difference — this is stunning,” Larry Diamond, a political scientist at Stanford University, said.

New England, however, isn’t completely devoid of Republican voices. Maine still has one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins, in the halls of Congress. Nine of the other Senate seats in 5-out-of-6 of the states of New England are held by Democrats, while two independents — Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Angus King of Maine — are also present. Those two independents presently caucus with the Democratic Party within the Senate chambers.