GOP's Baker unseats Democrat Vitelli in state Senate District 23

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TOPSHAM — Republican Linda Baker defeated incumbent state Sen. Eloise Vitelli by more than 1,000 votes Tuesday in State Senate District 23.

Baker, of Topsham, had 8,900 votes, compared with 7,869 for Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, and 2,239 for Green Independent Alice Knapp, of Richmond, according to unofficial results.

Senate District 23 includes all of Sagadahoc County and the Lincoln County town of Dresden.

Vitelli dominated in Bath with 2,096 votes, compared with 1,319 for Baker and 317 for Knapp. Baker took her hometown of Topsham with 2,780 votes, compared with 1,789 for Vitelli and 334 for Knapp.

“I am just incredibly honored … I’m so touched by everybody’s faith,” Baker said Wednesday morning. “I’m almost speechless, and for me that’s weird; I’m an  English teacher. We don’t do speechless.”

Baker taught in Bath from 1980-1985, and at Mt. Ararat High School from 1985-2011. She now teaches at Merrymeeting Adult Education.

She served on the Topsham Board of Selectmen for three years in the 1980s, and spent five years on the Blaine House Scholarship Selection Committee, and 10 on the Jobs for Maine Graduates advisory board.

Vitelli was elected in Senate District 19 last year in a special election to replace former Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond. She is director of program and policy at Women, Work and Community, serves on the Maine Economic Growth Council, and was president of the Midcoast Economic Development District.

Knapp has had her own law firm in Richmond since 2002, and has been practicing law in Maine since 1989.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.