Portland, Maine is the liberal, crunchy granola center of Maine politics. The state’s largest city, it cast 75% of its votes for Barack Obama in 2012. Mitt Romney won 20% and the Green Party took much of the rest.
But liberalism has its limits. City voters rejected a proposed increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour tonight by 58% to 42%. Businesses rallied in opposition and held news conferences featuring small business owners who warned what the measure would mean for them. The campaign paid off. As the Portland Press Herald reported tonight:
“Scott Rousseau, the owner of Play It Again Sports in Portland, fought back tears Tuesday night as he expressed his joy over the defeat of the proposed minimum wage hike. Rousseau had campaigned against the measure, saying an increase to $15 would have put him out of business or force him to cut staff.
“Right now I’m feeling a huge sense of relief for every small business owner in Portland, and everyone who works for me,” he said. “I think it’s great news for the future of our city.”
The voters also elected Ethan Strimling as Portland’s new mayor. Strimling opposed draconian curbs on development and was endorsed by the city’s Chamber of Commerce.