Otten's bid for governor swamped by Tea Party tsunami
By MICHAEL DANIELS
“It was great,” Les Otten said Wednesday morning from his home in Greenwood. “It was something I was really glad that I did. But it feels pretty weird today.”
Otten may have fallen short the day before in his bid for the Republican nomination for Maine governor, but he can take consolation in voting results from the part of the state where people know him in the flesh, rather than as just a figure in expensive television ads.
Statewide, Otten lost to Tea Party candidate Paul R. LePage. With seven candidates running, LePage garnered 38 percent of the vote, while Otten finished a respectable second, at 17 percent.
But in Oxford County, he bested LePage 39 percent to 26 percent. And in Bethel-area towns his margins ran in the two- or three-to-one range.
In Newry, the former head of Sunday River Ski Resort and founder of the American Skiing Company received nearly 80 percent of the total votes cast, more than 10 times LePage's tally.
Otten expressed his thanks for his neighbors’ overwhelming support – and not for just during the primary.
“Their trust and support for me over the last 38 years has been a two-way street. I always felt as though the community gave to me and I gave back to the community. To the extent I can continue to do that, for Bethel, northern Oxford County and the state of Maine, I plan to.
“Every option in the world is open to me now, and I'll try to put my energy to use for something.”
“Somewhere along the line, I'll still try to make something happen, but what that something is is something I'll now begin to consider.”
Other statewide results
Democratic voters both statewide and in Oxford county selected Libby Mitchell for their party's gubernatorial nomination.
In other statewide decisions, voters used the “people's veto” to overturn a new tax structure that would have raised some sales taxes and levied new taxes on meals and lodging. The margins to override were consistently in the 60 percent to 40 percent range.
They also approved four bond issues and (in results available as of press time) were narrowly leaning toward approving a fifth, a $23,750,000 bond aimed at stimulating economic development and job development.
That fifth bond was losing narrowly in Oxford County.
In county-wide races, voters rejected a proposal to change the status of the county treasurer's position, from elected to appointed (by the county commissioners).