The election night heat between Democrats Emily Cain and Troy Jackson was never really close. It ended with the Associated Press calling the race in time for Cain to lead the 10 p.m. news with her victory speech. She began with a thank you to supporters.
"I have been truly humbled by the outpouring of support from across the district," she said. "From right here, in Penobscot County, to Lewiston and Auburn, Machias, Farmington, Presque Isle, and quite frankly, everywhere in between."
Cain was also quick to thank several key interest groups that supported her campaign.
"I've been honored to have the support of partners like Emily's List and the League of Conservation Voters, the American Federation of Teachers, IBEW Local 104, Planned Parenthood, Equality Maine and so many more," she said.
A big endorsement, early on, from Emily's List was a major boost for Cain. The powerful, Washington D.C.-based group supports up-and-coming Democratic women, running for U.S. House, Senate and governor, across the nation. Its support helped encourage powerful Democratic donors to get behind Cain's campaign. And Cain used her decisive financial advantage over Jackson to blanket the airwaves with TV ads in the days before Election Day.
"Sen. Cain ran a good campaign and was able to reach people with her message," he said.
But Troy Jackson, who conceded the race before supporters in Lewiston, says not being able to counter Cain on TV with ads of his own made it all but impossible to compete.
"I would've liked to think that if we could have raised more money we would've been more competitive," he said. "But I still don't know if we would have won."
With Jackson out of the way, Cain was quick to turn her focus to her opponent in the fall, Republican Bruce Poliquin, former state treasurer. Poliquin, a staunch conservative and tea party favorite, defeated the more moderate Kevin Raye in the Republican primary. Cain says the race will give voters in the 2nd District a clear choice.
"The national Republican Party has already set its sights on this Congressional seat," she said. "And Republicans have been very clear about their agenda: saying no to raising the minimum wage, no to equal pay for equal work and no to a woman making her own health care decisions."
Both parties are likely to pour lots of money into the 2nd District in the months ahead in what promises to be a tough, and potentially bitter, race. Emails, sent to reporters just minutes after Cain's victory, offer a preview of the the battle ahead. A message from Emily's List congratulated Cain and promised to mobilize the organization's volunteer and fundraising networks to make her the first Democratic woman to win election in the 2nd District. An email from the National Republican Congressional Committee, in the meantime, accused her of proposing a massive tax hike on middle-class families.