Maine 1st District Rep. Chellie Pingree celebrates her 1st District win with husband Donald Sussman and supporters.
Political commentators said it would take a scandal for Chellie Pingree to lose her seat in the 1st District, an historically Democratic stronghold.
So in the absence of anything scandalous occuring during Pingree's million dollar re-election campaign, the 57-year old Democratic congresswoman was able to declare victory just before 10 o'clock Tuesday night. Pingree addressed supporters attending the Democratic party election night shindig at a downtown Portland bowling alley.
"Clearly the voters have said to me that we've all worked hard over the last four years. We have a tremendous amount of work to do. Our work is not done and Congress will be back in session on November 13th," she said.
"She's one of the true politicians who really works for the people and follows through with her beliefs," said Adair O'Reilly of Arundel, who was among those celebrating Pingree's re-election.
Another was Kathleen McKeon - a nurse pracitioner from Portland. "I think Chellie has been a good representative for the people of Maine, and it's great to see a women representing us in Congress, and I think that's fantastic," she said.
For Alec Jankowski of Portland, it was Pingree's stance on one particular issue that drew his support. "I voted for Chellie because she's really the only candidate in this race I've seen who's talked about climate change, and I think that's actually really important," he said.
"I wanted you all to know that I just called Representative Pingree and congratulated her on a victory - getting re-elected to the U.S. Congress," said Pingree's opponent in the race, Springvale Republican Jon Courtney, who is also the Maine Senate majority leader.
Courtney said he hopes his campaign - although unsuccessful - will send out a strong message on the importance of bi-partisan co-operation.
"As I leave this race tonight, I accept the will of the people," he said. "But I hope what gets carried out of this race, and I think it's very, very important, is that you can't just dismiss someone's opinion because it's different from your own. You need to respect that."
Pingree, meanwhile, says now that her job is secure - at least for the next two years - she'll have a lot on her mind when Congress reconvenes next Tuesday for the so-called lame-duck session.
"There are so many issues in front of us around the economy, environmental issues, healthcare, working on the Affordable Care Act and making sure that really gets implemented," she said. "I've worked very hard on the farm bill and we haven't even been able to bring that to the floor yet in the House of Representatives. So I've got a really long list and I'm just hoping my colleagues come back in the mood to get work done."
Pingree's immediate plans however are of a more personal nature. She's looking forward to the birth of her third grandchild any day now.
Photo by Mark Vogelzang.