Millett swamps Kaenrath in District 7

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Former School Board member Rebecca Millett has decisively defeated South Portland Rep. Bryan Kaenrath for the Democratic nomination for Maine Senate District 7.

With South Portland and Ward 3 of Scarborough reporting, Millett leads Kanraeth by 1,590 to 926. Millett, will face Republican and South Portland businessman Gary Crosby in the Nov. 6 general election. Senate District 7 is compromised of Cape Elizabeth, South Portland, and the Pine Point area of Scarborough.

The winner will become the third senator to serve the district in the last 18 months. Former Maine Sen. Larry Bliss was elected to the seat in November 2010. He resigned in April 2011 and was replaced by current Sen. Cynthia Dill (D-Cape Elizabeth) in a special election in May 2011.

Dill is now seeking her party’s nomination in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.

CAPE ELIZABETH — The race to replace Maine Sen Cynthia Dill took a decided hometown advantage as former School Board member Rebecca Millett easily defeated Maine Rep. Bryan Kaenrath of South Portland.

Millett won 1,590 to 926 to become the Democratic nominee for the Maine Senate District 7 seat now held by Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth.

The school budget was approved by a 1,535 to 518 vote. A second, nonbinding, question on the amount of the budget showed 950 voters found the budget spending acceptable while 603 found it too high and 192 found it too low.

Millett carried all three areas in the district of Cape Elizabeth, South Portland and the eastern portion of Scarborough. In her hometown, she defeated Kaenrath, now serving in House District 124, by a 737-214 vote.

By winning the primary, Millett moves on to face Republican Gary Crosby in the Nov. 6 general election. Crosby is a South Portland businessman who unsuccessfully ran for City Council in 2009.

The winner of the general election will become the third person to hold the District 7 seat in since April 2011. Former Maine Sen. Larry Bliss resigned when he moved to California. Dill then defeated South Portland Republican Louie Maietta Jr. in a May 2011 special election.

Dill vacated the seat to run for the U.S. Senate being vacated by Republican Olympia Snowe.

Kaenrath said a low turnout in South Portland and an energized turnout in Cape Elizabeth hurt his chances in the primary.

“I did well in the areas I needed to do well,” he said, but credited a high turnout in Cape Elizabeth in support of Dill for also boosting Millett’s support.

“I had hoped to carry South Portland enough to ride out the rest. I’ve won some and now I’ve lost one,”said Kaenrath, who is completing his third term in the Maine House.

Approval of the school budget, with a 3 percent spending increase, adds about 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to the property tax rate. The entire budget of school and municipal spending, with the town share for Cumberland County operations, will increase the town tax rate from $15.18 per $1,000 of assessed value to 15.85

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Rebecca Millett

Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.