Maine Republican Party

The Maine Republican Party is an affiliate of the United States Republican Party (GOP) in Maine. It was founded in Strong, Maine on August 7, 1854.

The Maine GOP is noted for its historically strong state College Republican federation. Other affiliate groups include the Maine Federation of Republican Women and the Maine Federation of Young Republicans.

Maine Republican Party
ChairpersonDemi Kouzounas
Senate leadershipDana Dow
(Minority Leader)
House leadershipKathleen Dillingham
(Minority Leader)
FoundedAugust 7, 1854
Headquarters9 Higgins Street
Augusta, Maine 04330
Fiscal conservatism
Social conservatism
National affiliationRepublican Party
ColorsRed (unofficial)
Seats in the US Senate
1 / 2
Seats in the US House
0 / 2
Seats in the Maine Senate
14 / 35
Seats in the Maine House
56 / 151
Nonvoting Seats in the Maine House
0 / 3
Executive Offices[a]
0 / 4

Party history

The Republican Party formed in Maine in 1854 due to Prohibition and the abolitionist movement. Hannibal Hamlin left the Democratic Party because of the slavery issue and helped form the Republican Party. He was the state's first Republican governor. In 1860, he became the first Republican Vice President after Abraham Lincoln won the presidency.

From the 1860s until 1900, James G. Blaine rose as a dominant Republican figure. He was the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, a U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State for three Republican administrations. He ran for President in 1884 but lost to Grover Cleveland. In the late 1800s, Thomas B. Reed served in the House of Representatives for three terms. He started many reforms and was sometimes referred to as "Czar Reed". "Reed's Rules of Order" are still used in Maine Legislatures.

Except for rare lapses, the Republicans dominated Maine politics until 1954, when young progressives from the Democratic Party gained strength.[1]

Margaret Chase Smith was the first American woman elected to serve in both houses of Congress (elected to the House of Representatives in 1940 and the Senate in 1948). In 1964, she was placed in the nomination for presidency at the Republican National Convention.[1]

On August 19, 2013, the resignation of seven members of the State Committee, viewed as libertarian and conservative, was announced along with their unenrollment from the Party. Those who resigned cited numerous grievances with the Party at both the state and national levels, including Party rule changes, support from Congressional Republicans of National Security Agency surveillance programs, and the failure of Legislative Republicans to block tax increases in the recently passed State budget.[2]

Current officeholders

Paul LePage was Governor from 2011 to 2019. His election in 2010 marked a resurgence for the Maine GOP, with the party taking a House majority for the first time since 1974 and establishing a government trifecta for the first time since 1964.

The Maine Republican Party controls no statewide offices after the 2018 elections. It holds a minority in the Maine Senate and the Maine House of Representatives. It also holds one of the state's U.S. Senate seats, but neither of the state's U.S. House seats.

Members of Congress

U.S. Senate

Republicans have controlled Maine's Class II seat since 1996:

Susan Collins official Senate photo
Senior Senator Collins

U.S. House of Representatives

  • None

Both of Maine's congressional districts have been held by Democrats since 2018. The last Republican to represent Maine in the House of Representatives was Bruce Poliquin. First elected in 2014, Poliquin was subsequently defeated in his bid for a third term in 2018 by Democratic challenger Jared Golden.

Statewide offices

  • None

Maine has not elected any GOP candidates to statewide office since 2014, when Paul LePage was re-elected as governor. In 2018, term limits prevented LePage from seeking a third term. Businessman Shawn Moody ran as the Republican nominee in the 2018 election and was subsequently defeated by Democratic challenger Janet Mills.

State legislative leaders



The Maine Republican Party caused a stir during its 2010 convention when the historically moderate party passed a constitutionally conservative platform supported by "Tea Party" activists. The new platform calls for the elimination of the United States Department of Education and the Federal Reserve System, the rejection of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (because it would give foreign entities control over U.S. citizens), a freeze and prohibition on stimulus spending, and the prosecution of perpetrators of the "global warming myth". It also demands a "return to the principles of Austrian Economics", and the assertion that healthcare is "not a right" but "a service" that can be addressed only by using "market based solutions". Indeed, the platform says, "The principles upon which the Republican Party was founded, to which we as Citizens seek return, and to which we demand our elected representatives abide, are summarized as follows:[3][4]

  1. The Constitutions, both State and Federal, are the framework to which any and all legislation must adhere.
  2. State sovereignty must be regained and retained on all issues specifically relegated to the States by the constitution.
  3. National sovereignty shall be preserved and retained as dominant over any attempted unconstitutional usurpations of such by international treaty.
  4. It is the responsibility and duty, of "We the People", to educate both ourselves and others; to demand honest elections free of corruption, and to hold our elected officials to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and loyalty to the constitution."


During the 2012 Maine caucuses, the Maine Republican Party received heavy criticism for mistakes and omissions in voter tallies.[5] The Waldo County GOP Committee called for a censure of Chairman Charlie Webster for his handling of the controversy.[6]


On January 12, 2019, the Maine Republican Party unanimously elected Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro as the party's vice chair.[7] Isgro's election came less than a year after his controversial tweet telling Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg to "eat it" prompted nationwide attention and an effort to recall him as mayor.[8][9] Ultimately, Isgro prevailed in the recall election, retaining his position as mayor by a margin of 91 votes.[10]


  1. ^ a b James Brunelle. "A Brief History of Maine: Extract from Maine Almanac (1980)". Archived from the original on 2 April 2003. Retrieved 14 December 2011.
  2. ^ Kevin Miller. "Seven members of Republican State Committee leave party". Kennebec Journal. Archived from the original on 20 August 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Proposed amendment to the platform as put forward by the committee" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-03-11. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  4. ^ "National GOP takes over Maine's Republican Party - About Town". Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  5. ^ Hook, Janet (17 February 2012). "Maine GOP Caucuses: Drama Continues". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 5 May 2015. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Waldo County Republicans call for censure of state GOP chairman after caucus controversy — Politics — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine". 2012-02-15. Archived from the original on 2015-09-01. Retrieved 2015-05-04.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-12. Retrieved 2019-01-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2019-01-13. Retrieved 2019-01-13.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  1. ^ Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer

External links

1994 Maine gubernatorial election

The 1994 Maine gubernatorial election took place on November 8, 1994. Independent candidate Angus King defeated Democratic Party candidate Joseph Brennan, a former Governor of Maine, Republican Party challenger Susan Collins, a regional coordinator of the Small Business Administration, and environmentalist Jonathan Carter. Ed Finks, as a write-in candidate, took in 1.29% of the vote. Incidentally, both King and Collins now serve together in the United States Senate.

2008 Maine Republican caucuses

The Maine Republican caucuses, 2008 were held on February 1, February 2, and February 3 at various locations throughout the state of Maine. The results were used to apportion 21 delegates for the state. The Maine Republican caucuses were the first caucuses in the 2008 election season in which Rudy Giuliani was out of the race.

2012 United States presidential election in Maine

The 2012 United States presidential election in Maine took place on November 6, 2012, as part of the 2012 United States presidential election in which all 50 states plus The District of Columbia participated. Maine voters chose four electors to represent them in the Electoral College via a popular vote pitting incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his running mate, Vice President Joe Biden, against Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Obama and Biden carried Maine with 55.37% of the popular vote to Romney's and Ryan's 40.33%, thus winning the state's four electoral votes.

Beth O'Connor

Beth O'Connor is an American politician and activist from Maine. O'Connor, a Republican from Berwick, Maine, has served in the Maine House of Representatives since December 2014. She also served a single term from 2011-2012.O'Connor has also served as chairwoman of Maine Taxpayers United.O'Connor served for seven months as vice-chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party. She resigned on June 28, 2013, citing Republican legislators lack of support for Republican Governor Paul LePage's biennial budget.

Charlie Webster (politician)

Charles 'Charlie' M. Webster is an American politician from Maine. Webster, a Republican from Farmington, served 14 years in the Maine Legislature, including four in the Maine House of Representatives (1980–1984) and ten in the Maine Senate (1984–1994). In the Senate, Webster served one term (1986–1988) as Assistant Minority Leader and two terms (1988–1992) as Minority Leader.

In 1994, Webster sought the Republican nomination for Governor. Webster finished 7th of 8 candidates.Webster was named Chair of the Maine Republican Party in 2008. He stepped down in December 2012 after the party lost control of both the House of Representatives and Senate in the November 2012 general election. He was replaced as Chair by Richard Cebra, a former State Representative from Naples, Maine.On August 10, 2015, Maine Governor Paul LePage appointed Webster to serve as a county commissioner for Franklin County's District 2, as an interim replacement for Commissioner Fred Hardy, who died on July 4 in the third year of his four-year term.

Christine Powers

Christine Powers is an American politician and librarian from Maine. A Democrat, Powers was a member of the Maine House of Representatives from December 2012 until December 2016. She has served on the Naples Board of Selectmen since 2002 and Director of the Naples Public Library.She replaced Richard Cebra as State Representative. Cebra subsequently was chosen Chairman of the Maine Republican Party.

David A. Nichols

David A. Nichols (August 6, 1917–June 21, 1997), of Lincolnville, Maine, was a Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court from May 24, 1977 to May 31, 1988.

Born in Lincolnville, Waldo County, Maine, Nichols "grew up over his family's gas station along U.S. Route 1". He attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and received a JD from the University of Michigan. Nichols served in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, and thereafter entered private practice in Camden, Maine.He held a number of political positions, serving as a Maine delegate to the 1952 Republican National Convention; a member of Maine Governor's Council from 1955 to 1957; and as the chair of the Maine Republican Party from 1960 to 1964.Nichols recalled that he had no interest in serving in the state judiciary, but he was appointed to the Maine Superior Court "after then-Gov. James B. Longley arrived in a helicopter in front of Mr. Nichols' Lincolnville Beach home in 1975 and asked him to serve". He thereafter served as an Associate Justice of Maine Supreme Judicial Court from 1977 to 1988. In 1985, Nichols wrote the unanimous decision of the court upholding the conviction of serial killer James Hicks.Nichols was never married. He died in a Lincolnville area hospital.

Frederic Hale Parkhurst

Frederic Hale Parkhurst (November 5, 1864 – January 31, 1921) was an American politician. He was the 52nd Governor of Maine.

Garrett Mason

Garrett Paul Mason (born June 19, 1985) is an American politician. Mason is a Republican State Senator from Maine's 22nd District, representing part of Androscoggin County, including his residence in Lisbon Falls. In 2003, he graduated from Calvary Christian Academy in Turner. In 2006, Mason graduated from Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, Florida with a B.A. in marketing. He also completed graduate work at Southern New Hampshire University and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. After college, Mason worked for the AA baseball team Portland Sea Dogs and as Director of Administration for the QJMHL hockey team Lewiston Maineiacs. He also received at honorary doctorate in Humanities from Pensacola Christian College in 2018.

In November 2010, Mason defeated incumbent Democrat and Leeds dairy farmer John Nutting. The Maine Republican Party spent $50,000 on television and radio ads against Nutting.During his first term in the Maine Senate, Mason sponsored a bill to allow charter schools in Maine. It was signed by Governor Paul LePage in June 2011.Mason was re-elected in 2012 by 28 votes over Democrat Colleen Quint of Minot.In June 2013, upon news that incumbent Congressman Mike Michaud had taken steps towards running for Governor, Mason was said to be "seriously considering a run" for the Republican nomination.After Republicans took control of the Maine Senate in 2014, Mason was elected Senate Majority Leader, a position he held until he termed out in 2018.

Ku Klux Klan in Maine

Although the Ku Klux Klan is most often associated with white supremacy, the revived Klan of the 1920s was also anti-Catholic. In the state of Maine, with a negligible African-American population but a burgeoning number of French-Canadian and Irish immigrants, the Klan revival of the 1920s was mainly a Protestant nativist movement directed against the Catholic minority. For a period in the mid-1920s, the Klan captured elements of the Maine Republican Party, even helping to elect a governor, Owen Brewster.

The Klan tapped into a long history of fraught relations between Maine's Protestant 'Yankee' population (those descended from the original English colonials) and Irish-Catholic newcomers, who had begun immigrating in large numbers in the 1830s. The rise of the Know-Nothing Party in the 1850s had resulted in the burning of a Catholic church in Bath, Maine, and the tarring and feathering of a Catholic priest, Father John Bapst, in Ellsworth. Catholic complaints about Protestant-oriented public schools had helped motivate the mob that attacked Bapst. The main front in the war on immigrants before the American Civil War, however, was temperance legislation. The Maine law of 1851 was the first statewide prohibition ordinance in the country, and was perceived by Maine's Irish-Catholic population as an attack on their culture. With the growing influence of Democratic Irish-Catholic and French-Canadian municipal politicians in cities like Bangor, Lewiston, and Portland, ethnicity and religion increasingly helped to draw party lines.

Libertarian Party of Maine

The Libertarian Party of Maine (LPME) is the Maine affiliate of the Libertarian Party.

The LPME was granted status as an affiliate of the Libertarian party in 1975 and ran its first candidate for elective office in municipal elections in Portland, Maine in 1979. The LPME has had a repeating cycle of activity and hiatus since its founding. As of the 2012 election cycle, it is active with a fully constituted State committee, securing the placement of 2012 Libertarian Party Presidential Nominee Gary Johnson onto the Maine general election ballot for the 2012 election and the endorsement of Andrew Ian Dodge the United States Senate election in Maine, 2012.

In 2015, the LPME sought to become a ballot-qualified political party by registering 5,000 or more voters into the party by December of that year. The party submitted over 6,400 registration forms to the Secretary of State. However, approximately 2,000 were found to be invalid. The party sued and, in May 2016, a judge in U.S. District Court allowed the Libertarian Party to register more voters into the party to obtain the 5,000 registrant minimum needed to receive a spot on the 2016 ballot for their presidential nominee. It was announced that they met the threshold on July 13, 2016, allowing their candidates to appear on the ballot. To maintain their status, they will need 10,000 registered Libertarians to vote in November. In November 2016, Libertarian Party (United States) Presidential candidate Gary Johnson received at least 5% of the state presidential votes. This gave the LPME official party status in the state of Maine, becoming the 4th recognized party by the state.

On 8 September 2017, Androscoggin County commissioner Zakk Maher became the LPME's first elected official when he defected from the Maine Republican Party.After the 2018 elections, the LPME lost party status as its candidates did not receive 10,000 cumulative votes in the 2018 elections.

Pamela Cahill

Pamela Cahill is an American lawyer and politician from Maine. Cahill, was elected to seven consecutive terms between the Maine House of Representatives (1981–1986) and Maine Senate (1987–1994). The Woolwich, Maine Republican served in leadership positions, both as Assistant Minority Leader and Minority Leader. She ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for governor in the Maine gubernatorial election, 1994. She was twice elected Assistant Secretary of the Maine Senate, in both 1994 and 2000. She also served as Chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party.

Cahill is a partner at the law firm Howe, Cahill & Company.

Paul Davis (Maine politician)

Paul T. Davis (born March 25, 1947) is an American politician from Maine. He has served in both the state Senate and state House of Representatives, and is a member of the Maine Republican Party.Prior to entering politics, Davis served for 23 years as a state trooper. He was then elected to the Maine Senate, where he served as Assistant Minority Leader and Minority Leader. He was elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 2008 and re-elected in 2010 and 2012. He is a graduate of the University of Maine.In June 2014, after months of negative campaigning on both sides, Davis won the Republican nomination for State Senate District 4, defeating incumbent Doug Thomas, with 57% of the vote.

Raynold Theriault

Raynold Theriault Sr. (May 12, 1936 – June 5, 2015) was an American politician from Maine. Theriault served six terms in the Maine Legislature. He was first elected as a Democrat to the Maine House of Representatives in November 1980, where he spent three terms. In 1986, Theriault was elected to the Maine Senate as a Democrat. Theriault joined the Maine Republican Party on December 31, 1991. He did not seek re-election in 1992. He also served terms on the SAD 27 School Board of Directors and the Fort Kent Town Council.He graduated from the Madawaska Training School (presently University of Maine Fort Kent) where he majored in education and earned a bachelor's degree in business management from Ricker College. He graduated from Maine Military Academy as well as attending a number of military schools including the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in Leavenworth Kansas.

Richard A. Bennett

Richard A."Rick" Bennett (born May 24, 1963) is an American politician from the state of Maine and a current resident of Oxford, Maine. Bennett is the President and CEO of ValueEdge Advisors, a firm he founded in summer 2014 to help institutional investors engage with their portfolio companies. From 2006 to 2014 he served as CEO of The Corporate Library and then Chairman or Vice Chairman of GMI Ratings, its successor company, an independent research firm focusing on corporate governance, director/executive compensation, and forensic accounting. For six years, Bennett was included in the NACD Directorship's "100 most influential people" in the boardroom and corporate governance community.As a resident of Norway, Maine, Bennett served as the President of the Maine Senate as the result of a unique power-sharing agreement between Republicans and Democrats predicated on an even split in state senators. The deal gave the presidency to both parties for one year each during each two-year senate term.Bennett served four terms in the Maine Senate, two terms in the Maine House of Representatives, and in 1994 was the Republican nominee for Congress in Maine’s second district, losing to John Baldacci in a close race. On May 2, 2008, he was elected to a four-year term as Maine’s Republican National Committeeman.

In 2006, he considered running for Governor of Maine but decided to remain in the private sector instead. His name was widely circulated as a possible candidate for the Republican nomination for governor in 2010, but he ultimately decided against running. In November 2012, Bennett sought the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate Seat vacated by Olympia Snowe but was defeated by Maine Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr.

On July 20, 2013, Bennett was elected chairman of the Maine Republican Party, replacing former State Representative Richard Cebra of Naples. In 2015, Bennett was unanimously re-elected as Chairman of the Maine Republican Party. He was a Republican elector for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election for Maine's second congressional district.

Richard Cebra

Richard M. Cebra (born May 18, 1964) is an American politician from Maine. A Republican, he represented Maine House of Representatives District 101, which included Casco, Naples and part of Poland from 2004 to 2012. He was elected to the 128th Legislature in November 2016 serving district House District 68, which includes the towns of Naples, Sebago, Baldwin, Cornish and part of Parsonfield. Following his initial departure from the legislature in 2012, he served as chairman of the Maine Republican Party, from which he stepped down in 2013. Cebra is known as a social and fiscal conservative, and was a close ally of Governor Paul LePage.

Robert Hale (Maine politician)

Robert S. Hale (November 29, 1889 – November 30, 1976) was a U.S. Representative from Maine, and first cousin of U.S. Senator Frederick Hale, also of Maine.

Thomas Martin (Maine politician)

Thomas H. Martin Jr. is an American politician and businessperson. Martin served as a Republican State Senator from Maine's 25th District, representing much of Kennebec County, including the population centers of Waterville and Winslow as well as two communities in Somerset County, including Pittsfield. At that time he was a resident of Benton, Maine. He was first elected to the Maine State Senate in 2010 and defeated for re-election in 2012 by Colleen Lachowicz. During his re-election campaign, the Maine Republican Party criticized Lachowicz for comments she made while playing World of Warcraft. After the criticism received national attention, gamers donated $6,300 to two PACs supporting Lachowicz. Overall, $181,000 was spent to oppose Martin's re-election. Lachowicz won her hometown of Waterville by more than 1,900 votes and the district by approximately 900.

Thomas W. Murphy Jr.

Thomas W. Murphy Jr. (born October 29, 1942) is an American schoolteacher, newspaper publisher and politician from Maine. Murphy, a Republican, served eight terms (1981-1988; 1997-2004) in the Maine House of Representatives. During his time in the House, he was chosen minority leader of the Republican caucus on three separate occasions (1985-1988; 1999-2000). He also served as chair of the Maine Republican Party for 1988-1989.Murphy was born on October 29, 1942 in New Haven, Connecticut. He served in the United States Marine Corps Reserves from 1960-1966 and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1967 with a B.S. in education. He moved to Maine and became a resident of Kennebunk, Maine, which he would later represent in office. He began teaching at Kennebunk High School in that same year. He taught at KHS from 1967 to 1980 and again from 1988 to 1996. In 1980, Murphy became the editor and publisher of The Tourist News, a local newspaper aimed at the tourist population of southern Maine.

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