Divided state: Maine splits electoral votes for first time

Republican presidential elect Donald Trump arrives with his family on stage to speak during election night at the New York Hilton Midtown in New York on November 9, 2016.  Trump stunned America and the world Wednesday, riding a wave of populist resentment to defeat Hillary Clinton in the race to become the 45th president of the United States. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Republican presidential elect Donald Trump arrives with his family on stage to speak during election night at the New York Hilton Midtown early Wednesday morning. —Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine is splitting its electoral votes for the first time, with Democrat Hillary Clinton winning three electoral votes and Republican Donald Trump collecting one electoral vote.

Trump won enough support Tuesday in Maine’s sprawling 2nd Congressional District to prevent Clinton from winning all four electoral votes.

Maine and Nebraska are the only two states that can split electoral votes. But it had never happened in Maine since the current system was put in place for the 1972 election.

That changed on Tuesday.

Trump won enough support in the more rural of the state’s congressional districts to declare a partial victory in Maine.


Trump lavished plenty of attention on Maine, where he drew support in rural communities where the economic future is uncertain and where hunters value gun rights. Three of his five visits to Maine this year focused on the 2nd District.

The wealthy real estate developer from New York appeared to have little in common with residents of rural Maine but his message of keeping jobs on U.S. soil, protecting gun rights and cracking down illegal immigration resonated with many voters.

Maine has seen shoe manufacturing move offshore, taking with it thousands of jobs. And now the state’s paper mills are struggling to compete, imperiling high-paying paper-making jobs.

Many of the same voters who supported Trump were the same ones who propelled Republican Gov. Paul LePage to office in 2010 and elected him to a second term in 2014. LePage jokingly described himself as “Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular.”

Clinton, meanwhile, saw greater strength in the 1st Congressional District, an urban, coastal district that includes Maine’s largest city, Portland.

Portland is seen as the state’s liberal stronghold, and LePage derisively refers to the region as “northern Massachusetts.”


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