People cross a downtown street.
Pedestrians cross Main Street in downtown Ellsworth in this May 21, 2019, file photo. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Two elections for a Maine Senate seat in Hancock County will take place on June 14 featuring the same candidates but slightly different boundaries.

It is a product of a special election that uses the same Maine Senate maps from the past decade but takes place on the same day as the primaries for the November election that use new districts drawn last fall in response to population changes in the 2020 U.S. census. Both races feature Rep. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, and former Sen. Brian Langley, R-Ellsworth.

The special election is to fill the seat vacated by former Sen. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, who resigned in January. Green Party candidate Benjamin Meiklejohn of Seal Harbor is also on the ballot along with Grohoski and Langley. The election uses the map under which Luchini was elected in 2020, with the district stretching from Brooksville and Deer Isle in the west to Aurora, Osborn and Amherst in the northeastern part of Hancock County.

Langley and Grohoski also are running unopposed in their respective party primaries on June 14 ahead of the November general election, which uses the new districts drawn last fall. Under the new maps, 10 towns in the eastern part of the old Senate District 7 are shifting into Senate District 6, which also includes most of Washington County.

On the flip side, four towns in western Hancock County, along with Isle au Haut in Knox County, will be added to Senate District 7. Residents of those towns cannot vote in the June 14 special election but will receive ballots for the primary election if they are registered with one of the major parties. All voters from those four towns will be able to vote in Senate District 7 in November.

The old and new versions of Senate District 7 are considered competitive, with both parties eyeing it as a key race to determine control of the Maine Senate this fall. Langley previously represented the district for four terms, three of which were under the same map that will be used for the special election. Luchini, a Democrat, was elected to the open seat in 2018 and beat Langley in 2020.

The special election has attracted more than $100,000 from the major parties, although the legislative implications of the election are minimal as the winner may not cast any votes this fall. The Legislature adjourned in April and has not indicated plans to return.