SCARBOROUGH — Republican Ruth Summers enjoyed solid hometown support in her bid for election in Maine Senate District 6.
But besides the western section of Scarborough, the district includes a portion of Westbrook and all of Gorham, and Democrat James Boyle built a lead in those areas that proved insurmountable on Election Day.
Boyle won the race to replace Democratic Sen. Phil Bartlett, 11,729 to 9,496.
Both candidates were making their first runs for elected office in a contest that drew considerable outside interest and political action committee money.
“Ruth ran a good race,” Boyle said. “She and I spoke several times during the campaign, and I know that both of us would prefer to keep politics positive in District 6.”
Bartlett was unable to run for a fifth consecutive term because of state term limits laws, and his support helped, Boyle said.
“He was a real mentor to me, so I have some sense of what to expect after talking with him,” said the Gorham resident, who is an environmental consultant for businesses.
Summers, the wife of Maine Secretary of State and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers, won Scarborough by 382 votes, 4,624 to 4,242. But the rest of the district favored Boyle, 7,587 to 4,862.
Although the district seat stayed in Democratic hands and the state Senate returned to a Democratic majority, Boyle said he plans to set aside partisan politics.
“I know what I told voters about why I ran for Senate: I’m frustrated with partisan gridlock, and I’m a small business owner accustomed to collaborating, ” he said. “That’s what I plan to do.”