Rep. Karl Ward, R-Dedham, won a decisive victory Nov. 8, returning him to the Maine House to represent District 131 constituents living in Dedham, Orland, Otis, Penobscot, Prospect, Stockton Springs and Verona Island.

In unofficial results reported to Portland Press Herald, Ward polled 3,688 votes overall to 1,685 for his challenger, Democrat Dorothy Caldwell of  Penobscot. This will be his second term serving in the Maine House of Representatives.

The Waldo County towns of Prospect and Stockton Springs reported 977 votes for Ward and 420 for Caldwell.

This year, Ward said he spent more time campaigning in his Waldo County towns — Prospect and Stockton Springs — knocking on doors and meeting with constituents. He credited that effort with bolstering his poll numbers in both towns.

While talking with residents, Ward said he heard about broadband internet access, roads, and requests to adjust the deer hunting season. This year, though, Ward said he noticed people weren't talking much about President-elect Donald Trump until about three weeks before the election. At about that time, FBI Director James B. Comey announced the investigation into a private email server used by Hillary Clinton had been reopened.

That's when Ward said he felt a momentum shift.

“Maine is sort of a microcosm of what happened nationally,” Ward said.

As he prepares for his second term, Ward said his main priority is the same as it was during his first term — to listen to his constituents and act accordingly. Ward said he will continue to vote the way his district wishes, even if that means voting against his party.

In previously published reports, Ward highlighted some of the issues facing the state, such as kids leaving Maine to pursue better economic opportunities elsewhere. As a business owner, Ward said he sees the devastating effects of high taxes, high energy costs, high healthcare costs, poor broadband infrastructure, lack of skilled labor, an unpredictable Legislature and onerous regulatory burdens are having on the state’s ability to attract and keep capital in Maine.

Ward noted he kept a 2014 campaign promise to donate all of his legislative take-home pay to local schools, scholarships and youth concerns. He said all his life, he's worked toward bettering the lives of future leaders and the single greatest way to continue is to increase economic opportunity and improve the business climate in this state — to give Maine parents the ability to better provide opportunities for their kids.

During her campaign, challenger Caldwell praised the Legislature for its accomplishments last session but said important opportunities were missed. She said she was disappointed that even when the majority came together on an issue, they did not override some important vetoes by the governor. She said she wanted to help the government better respond to the needs of its citizens all across the economic spectrum.

"Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the great volunteers who helped me throughout this campaign, to everyone in District 131 who shared their thoughts and concerns as I visited them at their homes, and to every supporter who voted for me yesterday and before," Caldwell said in a statement following the election.

"Last night’s result is disappointing, but we can be proud that we worked hard, played by the rules, and ran a respectful and ethical campaign. My congratulations to our successful Democrats — I am so glad you’ll be there to represent our humane and persevering values. I’m going to rest a minute now, and then refocus my energy as I continue to work for positive change at the grassroots level. My best hopes for us all."

 

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