Rows of legislators listen to a livestream of Gov. Janet Mills
Gov. Janet Mills addresses members of the Legislature electronically when business was being conducted at the Augusta Civic Center on Dec. 2, 2020. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Most Maine lawmakers voted with their party at least 90 percent of the time over the past two years.

That was the conclusion of a Bangor Daily News analysis of votes from the 130th Legislature, which covers from after the November 2020 election to the present. Lawmakers are still set to return to Augusta to vote on vetoes from Gov. Janet Mills, but the votes covered in the analysis include all the major bills from the legislative session, including those related to utility regulation, sports betting, tribal sovereignty and criminal justice.

A solid majority of lawmakers, around 80 percent, voted with their party at least 9 out of 10 times. Only two Maine lawmakers — Sen. Rick Bennett, R-Oxford, and Rep. Scott Landry, D-Farmington — broke with their parties more than 20 percent of the time.

Use the table below to see how often every lawmaker votes against their own party.

How we examined the votes

To determine the frequency with which each lawmaker votes with their party, the BDN analyzed more than 1,100 House and Senate votes from the 130th Legislature going back to 2021. We only examined votes on the floor of each chamber — not committee votes — and included all roll-call votes related to bills in both chambers. We included votes on amendments but excluded votes on judicial confirmations and other nominations.

For each roll-call vote, we determined the “party” position based on whether more members of each party voted “yes” or “no.” For example, in the Senate, if eight Republicans voted “yes” and five Republicans voted “no” on a particular bill, the eight would be scored as voting with their party, while the five would be scored as voting against.

A lawmaker voting with their party does not mean they are always voting against the other party. For example, the majority of lawmakers of both parties voted to advance Gov. Janet Mills’ supplemental budget earlier this year. The 16 lawmakers in the House who voted against it, a group that included Republicans and Democrats, were all scored as voting against their parties.

Legislators who are not Democrats or Republicans were excluded from the analysis. Rep. Sophie Warren, D-Scarborough, who began her service as an independent but joined the Democratic Party, was classified as a Democrat. Rep. John Andrews, R-Paris, was a Libertarian last year but has since rejoined the Republican Party. He was classified as a Republican.

Breaking with the party is becoming rarer

As partisanship has increased, it has become increasingly rare for members of the Legislature to break with their own parties. Only five senators and 10 members of the House broke with their parties more than 10 percent of the time during the 130th Legislature, the data show.

Both majority Democrats and minority Republicans generally stuck together. In the House, the median Democrat voted against their party 3 percent of the time while the median Republican voted against their party 4 percent of the time. In the Senate, the median Democrat voted against their party 5.2 percent of the time, while the median Republican voted against their party 4.2 percent of the time.