Friday, December 6, 2013
(Continued from page 1)
Staff photo by Andy Molloy
To counter that, Republicans touted radio ads in support of Benoit from U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, seen nationally as two of the most moderate members of the party.
The race was also pitched by many politicos and media personalities as a possible predictor of the result of the 2014 gubernatorial race, where LePage will likely defend his office against U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat, and independent Eliot Cutler.
Bennett downplayed any parallel with the upcoming governor's race, noting that Goodall held the seat in 2012 with nearly 64 percent of votes.
“For us, this was an effort to pick up something we didn’t have,” he said. “We came darn close against huge odds.”
However, Goodall faced Jeffrey Pierce of Dresden, a candidate with no political experience outside of local government, in 2012, not a seasoned campaigner like Benoit.
“Winning campaigns are based on momentum and motivation, and this is something Democrats can build on and Republicans have to recover from,” said Dan Demeritt, a former spokesman for LePage and a weekly columnist for the Portland Press Herald.
But Melcher said the biggest impact of the election is maintenance of Democrats’ legislative power, combined with fundraising momentum going into the 2014 cycle.
“I don’t know that it necessarily predicts anything,” he said. “It’s very good for Democratic morale; probably not so good for Republican morale.”
Kennebec Journal Managing Editor Scott Monroe contributed to this report.
Michael Shepherd — 621-5632