'Blue Wave:' Maine Democrats take control of Blaine House, legislature
PORTLAND (WGME) Maine created its own "blue wave" on Election Day, with democrats taking control of the Blaine House and state legislature.
Party leaders now hope it starts a new era in Augusta.
It will be the first time in 10 years that Maine Democrats will hold both houses of legislature as well as the Blaine House and Maine democratic leaders say they believe it's because the Maine people wanted a change.
Democrats have expanded their majority in the House, taking 81 of 151 seats, and also took control of the Senate, with 21 of 35 seats.
"That is a clear mandate by Maine voters that they want change," Democrat Phil Bartlett said.
Leaders hope the change of power will end an era of partisan discord in Augusta.
"This isn't about democrats vs. republicans, it's really about getting things done for Maine people and republicans are going to be very welcome in that partnership," Bartlett said.
"I think you're really going to see democrats focusing on priorities and things that we've heard from Mainers that matter to them every day," Rep. Sara Gideon said.
Leaders say health care expansion and job growth are their top priorities.
"Government can work, and work for them, to show people that we can get along, come up with solutions," Gideon said.
The Maine GOP says they were too busy to comment on the leadership change Wednesday, but spokesperson Nina McLaughlin released a statement.
"We are very busy still and are focused on the tasks at hand."
"There is a way for us to work together there is always a way, even when we disagree, to be civil about it and to continue to find the things we can agree on," Gideon said.
House and Senate leadership are expected to caucus over the next few days to elect a new speaker as well as a new Senate president.