Rep. Mike Michaud (standing) celebrates his reelection Tuesday night with supporters in East Millinocket.
Michaud's first victory over Raye in 2002 was a four-point squeaker. But Tuesday, by the time Michaud declared victory in the rematch, he was well on his way to a double-digit triumph. The congressman thanked his supporters at an election evening party in East Millinocket.
"We have great supporters throughout the 2nd Congressional District and we've been working hard during this campaign and throughout the year," Michaud said. "And one of the things that I felt strongly about, when I first got elected to Congress, is focus on what's important to the people of the state of Maine."
Michaud, a former papermill worker, has opposed free trade agreements pushed by a Democratic president, deepening his support from labor unions. Veterans in Maine backed him in large numbers, thanks to his work opening VA clinics in the 2nd District. And his work on the Small Business Jobs Act has attracted the support of business owners in a district full of them.
Kevin Raye, whose family owns a mustard company in Washington County, had hoped his own record in business - and work as Maine Senate president - would persuade 2nd District voters to elect him this time.
"As we look at the returns, it's difficult for me to see a path to victory. So I wanted to let you know that," Raye said. "And I wanted to thank all of you. Both Karen and I will be forever indebted to each and every one of you. And to so many others across this state, who have stood with us in this campaign."
One of those people was Maine's outgoing U.S. senator - and Raye's mentor in politics - Olympia Snowe. Raye served for many years as the senator's chief of staff. Snowe and her husband, former Maine Gov. John McKernan, drove to Bangor to spend some time with Raye and his family election night. They had hoped to arrive just in time for a celebration. But it was not to be.
Photo by Nick Woodward.