State Senate: Breen wins re-election, Carson defeats Coffin

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FALMOUTH — Incumbent State Sen. Cathy Breen won her bid for re-election against Republican challenger Charles “Bart” Ladd by a preliminary vote of 15,267 to 11,175 in Senate District 25.

Another Democrat, Everett “Brownie” Carson, won the election to replace state Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, in Senate District 24.

Breen, 51, of Falmouth, secured a second term according to unofficial results from the towns that reported results by Wednesday morning. The district includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, Yarmouth and part of Westbrook. Results from Long Island were not available at press time.

On Wednesday, Breen said she was honored that voters were sending her back to Augusta.

“I look forward to continuing my work on issues that matter to our community,” Breen said.

Ladd, 59, is a Delta Airlines pilot and a former Georgia state senator and representative. Ladd said it was a “no-doubter” Breen won, because there was so much local backlash against Republican Gov. Paul LePage and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that the town overwhelmingly supported Democrats.

As a Republican, Ladd said he felt nothing he could have done would have mattered.

“You can’t control that kind of stuff,” he said Wednesday morning.

Ladd said he ran his campaign the best he could, but the political situation was out of his control. He said when he spoke with constituents on the issues he received positive feedback, but said this election was not based on issues.

This year offered Breen more breathing room than during her first campaign for state Senate. Breen, a former town councilor in Falmouth and former middle school teacher, defeated  Republican Cathy Manchester of Gray in 2014, following several recounts and a decision by a special Senate committee.

Falmouth had noteworthy early turnout, according to Town Clerk Ellen Planer. By 3 p.m., nearly 75 percent of the town’s registered voters had turned out. Planer said she couldn’t recall a time when so many people visited the polls so early on Election Day. Additionally, around 4,400 people voted absentee in Falmouth, which Planer said was more than usual.

“I think we’ll end up with higher turnout (overall),” Planner said around 5 p.m. on Election Day.

Carson wins

In Senate District 24, Carson defeated Republican Tristam Coffin 13,865 to 9,639, according to an unofficial tally reported by the Bangor Daily News.

The two competed to replace Gerzofsky, who could not seek re-election because of term limits.

Senate District 24 includes Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell, North Yarmouth and Pownal.

Coffin, 26, is a former military police officer with the National Guard, as well as a lobsterman, and pyrotechnics supervisor.

Carson, 68, directed the National Resource Council of Maine for nearly 30 years and holds a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law. He lives in Harpswell. He has never held political office before.

He was announced the victor just after 2 a.m., and could not be reached for a comment Wednesday morning.

But at midnight, when he was leading Coffin by a wide margin, Carson anticipated a win.

“I very much appreciate what the votes (in Senate District 24) that have shown in at least the preliminary count,” he said.

He reaffirmed his commitment to the core of his platform: improving education, protecting the environment, expanding access to health care, and building a strong economic future for small businesses through skills training.

Carson said as he watched the results of the race from the Democratic headquarters on Pleasant Street, and was distressed to find that “the mood is not what I hoped it would be,” given the increasing prospect of a Trump presidency as the the night crept on.

Callie Ferguson contributed to this report. Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.