A Maine Republican candidate won a seat in the state’s House of Representatives during a special election Tuesday, flipping a spot that had gone to a Democrat in the November election.
Abden Simmons, a former state representative, was declared the winner with 52 percent of the vote, surpassing Democrat Wendy Pieh’s 48 percent, News Center Maine reported. Pieh is also a former state representative.
Simmons will replace Democrat Clinton Collamore in representing Bremen, Friendship, Louds Island Township, Waldoboro and Washington.
Collamore resigned in February after he was indicted on accusations of violating the Maine Clean Elections Act and of forging signatures to collect $14,000 worth of public campaign funds, News Center Maine reported.
Collamore pleaded not guilty to the charges but vowed to return the campaign funds as well as his legislative salary, according to the news outlet.
Simmons works as a clammer and elver fisherman and also serves as a Waldoboro selectman, according to the Bangor Daily News.
“The election will not change much” in Maine’s State House, the Daily News reported, as Democrats still will outnumber House Republicans 81-68, with two additional “liberal-leaning independents.”
However, the news outlet acknowledged, “It is still a shot of momentum for a minority party that had hopes of flipping the House in last year’s election but [was] effectively stalemated by Democrats.”
Maine Republican Party Chairman Joel Stetkis congratulated Simmons in a social media post.
“This is massive news for Maine,” Stetkis said.
“[Simmons’] deep community roots and staunch advocacy for this district’s way of life clearly resonated with voters,” he said.
“We’ve said from the beginning that Main Republicans are putting together a reinvigorated, bottom up, grassroots team effort,” Stetkis said, “and I want to thank our volunteers and local party chairs because this was a great example of everyone working together for a common goal.”
He went on to thank not only Simmons and the Republican team but also the ultra-liberal Democrats, from President Joe Biden to top state legislators, for making the decision an easy one for voters.
“Abden and the Republican team were great, but I’ll also point out that Joe Biden, [Maine Gov.] Janet Mills, [Maine Senate President] Troy Jackson, and [Maine House Speaker] Rachel Talbot Ross have made consistent headlines in recent months for proposing and supporting far, far left wing policies,” Stetkis said.
“Mainers in this battleground district today said ENOUGH. Enough of the spending increases, enough of the extreme left-wing agenda in Augusta, enough of the broken promises.
“And they picked Abden Simmons to deliver this message.”