ELLSWORTH — Hancock County voters on Tuesday elected two-term state Rep. Nicole Grohoski to fill the vacant District 7 state Senate seat. She defeated former state legislator Brian Langley, who held the seat from 2010-2018.
With all but two of the district towns reporting, Grohoski, a Democrat and cartographer from Ellsworth, received just under 64 percent of the vote (6,174 votes) in the special election. Republican Langley, also from Ellsworth and the owner of the Union River Lobster Pot, received 35 percent (3,388). Green Independent Benjamin Meiklejohn received 104 votes (1 percent).
“I am humbled that the voters of Hancock County have elected me to be their next state senator,” said Grohoski in a statement Tuesday night. “I was raised right here in Ellsworth, and Hancock County is my home. Being able to continue serving my neighbors, family and friends in Augusta is the honor of my lifetime. From the beginning of this campaign, I’ve always promised to meet voters where they are and understand the challenges they’re facing.”
The race was closely watched by both major parties as a barometer of what’s to come in November, when Republicans hope to seize majority control from the Democrats. According to the Maine Ethics Commission, independent expenditures in support of Grohoski totaled just under $230,000 in the special election, compared to $11,631 for Langley. Signs for both candidates have peppered Hancock County roadsides for weeks. Yet, newly elected Grohoski is unlikely to cast a single vote in the Legislature this term.
She will complete the term of former state Sen. Louie Luchini, who resigned Jan. 18 to take a post with the U.S. Small Business Administration. The term ends this year and there will be another Senate 7 election in November. Both Grohoski and Langley will appear on the November ballot for the office after uncontested primary races on Tuesday. Due to redistricting, District 7’s boundaries have shifted, with some towns joining and some leaving. The new districts were used for the primary, while the old boundaries applied to the special election.
Grohoski grew up in Ellsworth and returned home after working in Vermont for eight years after college. She has lived in Hancock County for 30 years altogether. She has served two terms representing Ellsworth and Trenton in the Maine House.
On what can be accomplished in the months remaining in the current term, Grohoski said she would strive to answer constituents’ questions about government and connect them with information and services as needed. “Additionally, I plan to research policies based on conversations I am having with voters around Hancock County so that I can hit the ground running at the start of the next legislative session.”
There were no contested primaries on the ballot for Hancock County Democrats and just a few for Republicans. In state House District 14, which includes Bar Harbor, Cranberry Isles, Lamoine and Mount Desert, Stephen Coston defeated Duncan Haass in the Republican primary 307-191, according to preliminary results. In a close Republican race in state Senate District 10, Peter Lyford led Robert Cross 1,437 to 1,195 early Wednesday morning. The district includes Bucksport, Dedham, Otis and, in Penobscot County, Bradley, Brewer, Carmel, Clifton, Eddington, Hampden, Holden, Newburgh and Orrington.
Bruce Poliquin won the Republican congressional primary in Maine’s 2nd District. He commanded 60 percent of the vote to Liz Caruso’s 40 percent with 313 or 421 precincts reporting early Wednesday morning, according to voting results gathered by the Portland Press Herald.