BY LOGAN ROLLINS
BANGOR — On Election Night, local Democrats gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn to support Emily Cain as she challenges Republican incumbent Bruce Poliquin.
As the polls closed at 8 p.m., individuals started flowing into the Hilton’s ballroom for the event. By the time Cain arrived, 100 people were waiting with applause.
While many individuals were positive and optimistic for the results of Maine’s 2nd District, the stakes of the race were apparent.
“I can sense some nervousness.” said Peter Arabadjis, a physician from Orono. “It’s a very close race.” Arabadjis has supported Cain since she served as his state legislator.
“I’m hoping to celebrate with her tonight,” said Arabadjis.
Cain’s Communications Director Dan Gleick had similar thoughts about the event’s importance.
“Events like these are to thank everyone who has helped us,” said Gleick. “No campaign is about one person, and Emily takes that very seriously.”
Gleick also expressed the importance of the group setting towards moving forward.
“We either celebrate tonight, or we move on tomorrow,” said Gleick.
In the ballroom, two projectors broadcasted MSNBC’s coverage of the election. While the attendees chatted quietly amongst themselves, the entire room erupted in cheers as every state’s results came rolling in. A couple of individuals cheered as Marco Rubio, a previous contender for the Republican nomination, won Florida’s senate seat as the rest followed suit in sarcastic applause.
Next to one of the screens, a cardboard cutout of Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stood with a sign that read “Put the Trumpster in the Dumpster.” As attendees walked by, many stopped to take a quick selfie or have themselves photographed with the cutout. A sign next to it had a short limerick about “Trumpty Dumpty” and his wall.
This playful sense of humor was echoed by many who criticized the negative rhetoric of Cain’s opponent.
“Emily follows what Michelle Obama famously says: ‘When they go low, you go high.’” said Arabadjis.
Many expressed concern over the ad campaign Poliquin had run against Cain. In an interview, Cain addressed this. Her team instead focused on a more positive campaign.
“The negative campaign against me is unprecedented,” said Cain. “My campaign is about real people, and it is defined by ads that feature real people.”
Gleick further emphasized their focus on positive messages.
“We call ourselves ‘Team Cain.’ Our unofficial motto is ‘Go Team’,” said Gleick.
As 10 p.m. rolled by, Cain’s husband Daniel B. Williams announced that Cain was in the building, and taking a well-deserved break before she addressed the crowd. At the time Poliquin led 52 percent to Cain’s 48 percent. The tension in the room was unavoidable. Excitement was drained from the room as the night proceeded. While most new the devastating outcome that was looming.
University of Maine history professor Howard Segal was among those in attendance that night.
“Emily Cain is smart, and she’s extremely hardworking,” said Segal. “She’s a kind person who really cares about people that are suffering.”
Segal personally respects Cain for her understanding of public higher education.
“She would be a great asset to the University of Maine. She understand the needs of underfunded education in ways that Poliquin does not,” said Segal.
As the night continued, the lead slightly widened between Poliquin and Cain, individuals expressed their respect for her campaign.
“Emily ran a hard campaign. She ran a good campaign,” said Jim Dill, the State Senator from Orono. “Her heart was always into winning. She’s in it to win it.”
Even if she does not prove victorious, she will still be invested in Maine’s politics.
“I have learned that the next day, you will still wake up caring about the same things,” said Cain.
It was clear on Tuesday night that she had her entire party’s support.