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EDlection2018: Janet Mills Will Be Maine’s First Female Governor

Janet Mills holds up her fists in celebration immediately after getting the phone call that she is the next governor of Maine at an AirBnB near her election party at Aura on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

She had to wait until Wednesday morning and a handful of precincts were still being tallied, but Democrat Janet Mills has claimed victory as Maine’s first female governor. With 84 percent of ballots counted, she won 51 percent of the vote — an 8-point lead over Republican Shawn Moody.

“I am so excited for what lies ahead,” the Portland Press Herald quoted Mills as saying as the news was announced. “It is time, they say, for hope once again … and for a new day in Maine.”

A crowded electoral field also included independents Terry Hayes and Alan Caron.

All four candidates agreed the state’s K-12 schools need to improve but, with the exception of favoring better teacher pay, disagreed on how to get there. Mills opposes lifting a 10-school cap on public charter schools and wants to increase the state’s share of school funding.

She replaces conservative Paul LePage, whose combative style continually put him at odds with both the state legislature and Mills, its appointed attorney general. In that office, Mills declined to support LePage’s positions when she felt they were not legal and joined in a suit against U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over the Education Department’s decision to stop protecting students who took out loans to attend “predatory” for-profit colleges.

EDlection2018: This is one of several dozen races we’ve analyzed for the 2018 midterms that could go on to influence state or federal education policy. Get the latest headlines delivered straight to your inbox; sign up for The 74 Newsletter.

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