Redistricting history and process
Before Maine became a state, it was a part of Massachusetts. As the District of Maine, it held seven congressional districts during the 1810s before being admitted as a state. As a state, Maine gained an eighth district after the 1830 Census, but it has since gradually lost all but two of its districts. Most recently, the state lost its 3rd congressional district following the 1960 Census.
Maine’s congressional districts are drawn by the legislature in collaboration with a 15-member advisory commission. The legislature can pass maps with a 2/3rds vote. If the the legislature fails to agree on a map, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court is tasked with drawing instead.
Owing to the state’s stable population, congressional districts have generally remained similar between redraws. The legislature has usually opted for “least change” maps that ensure similar boundaries between reapportionment cycles.
As of the 2020 Census, Maine is the whitest state in the country. Nearly 92% of the population are non-Hispanic white; Native Americans make up the largest racial minority at 2.2%. In the Maine House of Representatives, three non-voting representative seats are assigned to the Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot tribes, although only the Passamaquoddy currently seat a representative.
In lieu of racial minorities, Francophones makes up perhaps the most visible minority group in Maine. By percentage, Maine’s French-speaking population is the largest in the country, comprising around 4% of the state’s population – higher than in Louisiana. Northern Maine is dotted with small, majority-French speaking towns like Madawaska, Frenchville, and Van Buren. Even larger towns like Lewiston have prominent French-speaking communities. Once strongly Democratic, these areas have become more of a bellwether in recent years in both statewide and 2nd district elections.
|District||Bachelor’s or higher||Rank (of 435)||Non-college white||Rank (of 435)|
Owing to the state’s monolithic demography, both of Maine’s congressional districts rank among the highest in the country in the percentage of non-college educated white voters. Notably, the 1st district also ranks in the top quartile for college education. Maine’s 2nd district, meanwhile, ranks among the most rural congressional districts in the country.
While Maine proved to be a surprisingly competitive seat in 2016 – Hillary Clinton won it by 3%, the lowest Democratic margin since 2000 – it rebounded firmly into the Democratic column in 2020. Joe Biden was able to make gains in both of Maine’s congressional districts, narrowing the 2nd from a Trump+10 seat to a Trump+6 seat while pulling over 60% in the 1st district.
However, Trump’s durability in the 2nd district is a solid sign for Republicans that, at the presidential level, they might be able to count on the district’s single electoral vote for cycles to come.
2022 election results
|1||Chellie Pingree (D)||62.9%||37%||D+25.9%|
|2||Jared Golden (D)||53.1%||46.9%||D+6.9%|
In the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats won both of Maine’s congressional districts. In the heavily Democratic 1st district, incumbent Chellie Pingree won by a wide margin of 25.9%. The competitive 2nd district, meanwhile, saw incumbent Jared Golden win by a margin of 6.9%. This was an impressive overperformance for a Republican-leaning seat that has voted twice for Donald Trump.
- ME-01: Chellie Pingree (D-North Haven)
- ME-02: Jared Golden (D-Lewiston)