BATH, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Democrats are happy today, Republicans are not, following Tuesday's special election for the state Senate.
Democrat Eloise Vitelli won that race, defeating Republican Paula Benoit by more than 200 votes. Vitelli won 50% of the vote to Benoit's 47%. Green Independent Daniel Stromgren finished a distant third.
It was an intense, five-week campaign for the seat, and the two major parties put a lot of money, staff and volunteers into the race.
Democrats worked hard to make Governor LePage the central issue, accusing Benoit of representing another vote for the controversial Governor and his policies. Republican party Chairman Rick Bennett says they will need to work harder to get their message out to the voters for the next election. But they will still have to cope with the sometimes-negative image of the GOP Governor.
Democratic Party Executive Director Mary Erin Casale says the will definitely make the controversial Governor an issue in next year's campaigns.
Both parties say they had large volunteer efforts in the special election - what political people call the "ground game" - and say that will help them get ready for next year's elections. In 2014, Mainers will elect the full Legislature, one U.S. Senator, two Members of Congress, and, of course, the Governor.