In reaction to the returns on election night and current vote counting, independent Green candidate for U.S. Senate Lisa Savage made the following remarks:
“Watching the results come in, I admit I am disappointed. I was excited by the possibility that, for the first time, a U.S. Senate race would be decided via ranked-choice voting. Unfortunately, it looks like that is not to be. I am left only to congratulate Susan Collins on her victory. I wish it were otherwise.
“Regardless, I am proud that I was a part of this race, and I am immensely proud of the work this campaign has done. From my husband Mark driving me over hill and dale for the past year to our incredible field team that brought so much joy to this race, I have been grateful to have such an amazing team alongside me advocating for the people of Maine.
“Without us in the race, there would have been no candidate to advocate for Medicare for All, despite it being supported by 69% of U.S. residents, and despite the race being conducted in the middle of a global pandemic, leaving people with thousands of dollars in medical bills.
“Without us in the race, there would have been no candidate to advocate for a demilitarized Green New Deal, even though 58% of U.S. residents support the kind of emergency response to the climate crisis that I am proposing, and the race being conducted during the nation’s most active hurricane and wildfire season on record.
“Without us in the race, supporters of positions like demilitarizing the police, offering universal childcare, providing free public university education, and cancelling student debt would have had no candidate representing their values. In fact, without us in the race, it’s unlikely anyone would have heard much about policy proposals at all. Susan Collins didn’t have a single policy position on her campaign website. Sara Gideon’s website inexplicably had no mention of foreign policy, the coronavirus, or racial justice. On what were voters to base their opinions?
“Apparently, just a lot of mean-spirited advertising, which turned everyone off and hampered the collective mood of our great state.
“If nothing else, I hope I showed Mainers the kind of positive, informed, people-powered, straightforward, and transparent campaign that’s possible under ranked-choice voting. I hope Mainers are beginning to understand the way RCV allows them to vote in accordance with their values, though I heard many times on the campaign trail from voters who felt the need to support the candidate with the ‘best chance to win.’
“It will take time for Mainers to fully grasp the way elections and campaigns are different under ranked-choice voting.
“Already, however, they know that something must be done about ‘getting big money out of politics.’ Somehow, the two corporate-party candidates purport to support this goal, and yet they have managed to conduct the most expensive campaign in the history of Maine.
“This year, Collins and Gideon will have spent, even without counting money spent by outside parties, right around $95 million. That is not a Maine-scale election. It is an abomination, while little kids all across the state go to bed hungry. The Maine people are not well served by this kind of election and this kind of politics.
“Hopefully, Mainers see that RCV represents a new politics, a way forward, where spending endless amounts of money on TV ads with menacing voiceovers and unflattering photos hurts a campaign more than it helps. Time and again, I have heard from voters across Maine how sick they are of Washington-style politics, where it seems more a game to be won than the life-and-death situation that government policy represents for so many people.
“Mainers are hungry. They’re scared. They’re struggling to keep a roof over their heads, they don’t know where the oil money is coming from, and they have medical bills piling up around their ears. All the while, the corporate-party candidates bicker about who’s going to spend more money on building warships in Bath.
“We deserve better. I did my very best to represent those Mainers who want politicians to listen to them instead of corporate sponsors, who want us to live up to those mythical American ideals of equal opportunity and a government of, by, and for the people. Tonight, it would appear I don’t have the first-choice votes to come out on top. My only regret is that I couldn’t have done more and rewarded our amazing campaign staffers, volunteers, and thousands of supporters with a victory.
“History is in the offing. Let it be known that the time of ‘spoilers’ and ‘lesser evils’ is over. We are now in the time of coalition building and a new politics. Here’s to a ranked-choice future.
“Finally, thank you to everyone who ranked me first. And it’s a lot of you, some 40,000 Mainers strong. We are not some radical fringe element. We are a growing movement that has agreed to value people, planet, and peace over profit -- and there are more of us every day. Thank you for helping us find each other through this campaign. Now that we’re together, there’s nothing we cannot do. Deep gratitude to all of you, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.”