The top of the ticket is going to be hotly contested in November, but many legislative races are going to be unopposed in Maine.
Nearly 1 in 5 members of the next Maine Legislature will be sworn into office after winning election unopposed in November, the Portland Press Herald reported.
All told, 34 seats out of 186 will go to candidates, mostly Democrats, without opponents, which makes it likely that Democrats will retain control of both chambers. Democrats currently hold majorities in both chambers, with 21 of the 35 Senate seats and 89 of the 151 seats in the House.
Michael Franz, a government professor at Bowdoin College, said COVID-19 may have made it difficult to recruit candidates. But he thinks partisan politics are more to blame.
“Polarization might be a disincentive for some interested citizens to run for office,” Franz said.
It’s also possible moderate Republicans have lost interest as firebrand leaders like former Republican Gov. Paul LePage and President Donald Trump have taken a larger role in state politics, he said.
The partisan advantage was not lost on outgoing House Majority Leader Matt Moonen, D-Portland, who recently commented about the uncontested races. “It’s like Republicans aren’t even trying,” he tweeted.