House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) devastating Republican primary defeat at the hands of conservative professor David Brat sent shockwaves across the country, but it wasn't the only tea party win Tuesday night.
Many of the forces at play in Virginia's 7th District were also evident in the GOP contest for Maine's 2nd District, where tea party-backed businessman and former Maine state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin took down former state Senate President Kevin Raye, a former chief of staff to Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), who had backing from the GOP establishment.
The parallel isn't perfect -- Poliquin had the support of FreedomWorks, for instance, while Brat won largely without help from outside groups. But Tuesday's primary results still seem to reflect significant discomfort among voters with candidates who are favored by the powers-that-be in Washington, D.C.
During the primary, Poliquin painted Raye as excessively liberal for a Republican, and criticized him for refusing to sign a pledge not to raise taxes. Poliquin also emphasized his own opposition to abortion rights and his belief that Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget didn't cut spending by "enough, soon enough."
On the Democratic side, state Sen. Emily Cain (D-Maine) won her primary with the help of MoveOn.org, the League of Conservation Voters and EMILY's List, a group that works to elect female candidates who support abortion rights.
After her victory, she highlighted Poliquin's conservative policy stances, casting him as a "no" candidate.
“No to raising the minimum wage, no to equal pay for equal work, no to the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change exists, no to a woman making her own health care decisions, and no to putting tax breaks for small businesses and the middle class ahead of millionaires and corporations,” she said, mimicking her impression of Poliquin's record, according to the Bangor Daily News.
Democrats hope they'll be able to hold the seat, which being vacated by Rep. Michael Michaud, who is running for governor.