Piscataquis County earned a red-tinted distinction in 2008 as the only one of Maine’s 16 counties — and the only one of the 65 counties in all of New England — to back the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, John McCain, over victor Barack Obama.
History largely repeated itself in voting Tuesday, when Piscataquis County retained its red reputation and became the only Maine county to back Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On the regional level, however, Piscataquis County wasn’t quite as lonely as it was four years ago. Four other New England counties — three in New Hampshire and one in Connecticut — also chose Romney over President Barack Obama.
While Obama carried Maine with a 56-41 edge, according to unofficial results, Romney carried Piscataquis County with 51 percent of the vote to Obama’s 46 percent.
And the county’s Republican leanings didn’t stop at the presidential level.
Piscataquis County — which is Maine’s smallest, with 17,000 residents — also returned Republican state Sen. Doug Thomas of Ripley to Augusta and backed the re-election of Rep. Peter Johnson, R-Greenville.
The county’s voters opted against legalizing same-sex marriage, with 37 percent supporting the measure and 63 percent opposing it. Statewide, the ballot measure passed with 53 percent of the vote.
They were more resistant to the four bond measures on the ballot than the rest of the state, as well. County voters opposed Questions 2 and 3, which, respectively, would have authorized borrowing for a diagnostic facility at the University of Maine and borrowing for land conservation. They supported Questions 3 and 4, but with slim majorities.
In congressional races, Piscataquis County voters ultimately voted the same way as the rest of the state, but gave less decisive victories to the winning candidates.
In the 2nd Congressional District race, Piscataquis County voters favored Democrat Mike Michaud over Republican challenger Kevin Raye. Michaud carried the county 53 percent to 47 percent, but dominated the 2nd District with a more commanding 58-42 edge, according to unofficial results compiled by the Bangor Daily News.
Voters backed independent Angus King in Maine’s Senate race, but gave him just 46 percent of the vote, compared to the senator-elect’s 53 percent statewide tally. Republican Charlie Summers posted a stronger performance in Piscataquis than he did in the rest of the state, earning 40 percent of Piscataquis votes compared to 31 percent statewide.
While Obama carried Maine’s 15 other counties, he fell short of gaining majority support in two other counties, Somerset and Washington. Obama carried both of those counties at 49 percent for Obama to 48 percent for Romney.