Mike Tipping, a candidate for state senate outside the Orono Town Office, June 14, 2022. Credit: Sawyer Loftus / BDN

Mike Tipping won the Democratic primary for Senate District 8 on Tuesday, defeating Abe Furth to advance to the general election for the newly drawn seat spanning from Orono to Prentiss where Democrats will be favored in the fall.

Furth, the co-owner of Orono Brewing Co., said Wednesday morning that he would be conceding to Tipping, who led with 62 percent of the vote in unofficial results reported to the Bangor Daily News. A few towns were outstanding on Wednesday morning.

Tipping is well-known in progressive circles for his longtime activism with the Maine People’s Alliance. He was endorsed by several unions and ran on a range of fairly mainstream Democratic issues, including ensuring access to affordable health care and cracking down on large utility companies.

Furth, the co-owner of Orono Brewing Company, had racked up endorsements from current lawmakers including Sen. Jim Dill, D-Orono, who is prevented from running again due to term limits. The Democratic primary seemed to heat up earlier this month with Senate Democratic leaders who recruited Furth to run accused Tipping of illegally placing signs in voters’ yards and fabricating endorsements but declined to provide specific examples.

In the Republican primary, retired U.S. Army colonel Eric Rojo of Lincoln led RSU 67 School Board member Grace Tibbetts with 54 percent of the vote as of Wednesday morning. With results not in from a few towns, the race was too close for the BDN’s elections partner, Decision Desk HQ, to call.

Rojo, a retired U.S. Army colonel, focused more on economic issues, calling for phasing out Maine’s income and sales taxes while Tibbetts railed against the “oversexualizaton” of children in public schools and the alleged teaching of critical race theory.

Tipping will likely be the favorite in November as registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the district by roughly 2,600 voters. At the polls in Orono on Tuesday, his supporters emphasized his time in state politics and his endorsements within the district. Willis Beazley, a 38-year-old carpenter, said the activist has “a proven track record.”

“He’s already taken a strong stance on a lot of the issues I care about,” Beazley said.

BDN writer Sawyer Loftus contributed to this report