WINDHAM – Republican Gary Plummer, who served eight years representing Windham in the Maine House, will be taking a seat in the Senate chambers come January representing District 12.
Plummer, a Windham native who served on the Town Council in the 1970s, as a county commissioner for 20 years, and then in the House, garnered 58 percent of the vote in the district representing Windham, Raymond, Standish, Hollis, Casco and Frye Island.
Plummer defeated independent candidate Martin Shuer, also of Windham, who received 42 percent of the vote. The Democrat candidate in the race, Reid Scher of Windham, withdrew in the summer. Plummer takes the seat from Bill Diamond, the longtime legislator who was forced to step down due to term limits.
Plummer has served the last two years as a member of the majority in Augusta. He served as chairman of the criminal justice and public safety committee. Though he survived a Democratic wave this election cycle, he will return as a member of the minority since Democrats took back both the House and Senate.
“I’m very excited to win this seat. It’s something that I’ve thought about for a long time,” Plummer said. “I have worked so hard for so long and it just feels so good to have the people recognize that I’ve done a good job representing the House district and now I’m ready to represent the Senate district.
“It’s going to be fun, but maybe not nearly as fun [being in the minority], but I enjoy representing people so I’m ready to go up there and work for the people of Senate District 12.”
Asked what the 2012 Democratic wave means for Republicans, Plummer said, “I think it’s the party in power getting blamed for all kinds of things whether it’s the party’s fault or not, at least on the local level. I think it’s kind of a reaction to the state of things in general, the economy and so on.”
Some in local politics had been expecting a larger win for the long-serving and well-known Plummer. Plummer said Shuer worked hard to garner his votes.
“I’m not surprised. Martin worked behind the scenes doing a lot; I’m not sure what he did for doors. But he did things like I never considered it appropriate to go to council meetings and selectmen meetings and do a campaign speech at those meetings, but this was Martin’s style and I think he got his name out there in ways that were different from traditional campaigning,” Plummer said. “I think he used what he could to his advantage to get his name out there to capture the vote. He ran a high-class campaign, somewhat different than I did and I have traditionally and other campaigns do.”
Shuer said Wednesday morning that “despite losing the Maine Senate District 12 election, I’m honored to have received the support of some 8,000 voters around the district who clearly connected with my message for more accountable governance by our elective officials. While disappointing, this outcome was not entirely surprising given the grassroots nature of my independent campaign and the considerable resources brought to bear by my opponent via endless road signs, direct mailings, and other traditional party efforts.”
Shuer went on to say, “Clean election candidates running with unlimited additional private finances make it difficult at best for anyone who’s not part of the system to prevail in this process. The lack of public candidate forums continues to be a problem in these election cycles, as well. Voters are not being given an opportunity to weigh their decision on candidates based on the merits of non-partisan hosted debates of the issues.”
Shuer also said his run for Maine Senate “was an outgrowth of my desire to be an effective advocate on behalf of citizens in their state government. That work will continue in the days ahead. In wishing Gary Plummer well, my hope is that he will become part of a more thoughtful and productive discourse in our Legislature toward solving the many problems facing our state.”