It’d be premature to make any predictions about the outcome of this November’s six-way contest to fill the U.S. Senate seat left open by Olympia Snowe.
But what’s one thing we know for sure? Maine’s next U.S. senator will hail from the state’s First Congressional District, and that’s largely a departure from Maine history over the past half century.
Maine’s current senators, Snowe and Susan Collins, were both elected from the state’s Second Congressional District when they joined the Senate. Snowe — who represented the Second District in the U.S. House — was elected as a resident of Auburn; Collins won her election as a Bangor resident.
Collins’ predecessor, William Cohen, who served in the Senate from 1979 to 1997, also lived in Bangor.
Admittedly, this analysis isn’t 100 percent scientific. For today’s purposes, we’re considering Waterville a Second District city. While the Elm City is currently in the Second District, it’s set to switch to the First District in January, and it’s previously been in the First District.
Snowe’s predecessor in the Senate was George Mitchell, who hails from Waterville but was elected as a resident of Portland (again, I emphasize that this study isn’t 100 percent scientific).
Before Mitchell, according to a compilation of Maine’s U.S. senators from the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, Edmund Muskie and William Hathaway were both Second District residents. Muskie lived in Waterville and Hathaway — like Snowe, he was a former Second District representative in Congress — lived in Auburn.
Before Hathaway, Margaret Chase Smith hailed from Skowhegan.
Muskie’s predecessor brings us back to our last Maine senator who hailed fully from the state’s First Congressional District: Republican Frederick Payne of Waldoboro, who served one term in the Senate, from 1953 to 1959.
When we go to the polls in November, the only choices on the ballot for Maine’s empty U.S. Senate seat are from the state’s First Congressional District.
Independent Danny Dalton lives in Bath, Democrat Cynthia Dill lives in Cape Elizabeth, independent Andrew Ian Dodge lives in Harpswell, independent Angus King lives in Brunswick, Republican Charlie Summers lives in Scarborough and independent Steve Woods lives in Yarmouth.
It’s virtually certain, then, that come January, Maine will have one senator from each Congressional district.