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Politics | State | Monday, July 5th, 2010, 7:12 pm

Unenrolled voters flock to GOP during primary season

William P. Davis | Maine Observer
Peter Mills speaks at a unity rally to support Paul LePage in June.

Speaking with the Maine Observer after Paul LePage stormed the Republican field to win the primary, long-time Maine politician and one-time candidate for governor Peter Mills predicted that thousands of unenrolled voters had joined the Republican Party on Election Day and propelled LePage to victory.

At the time, the numbers for election day were unavailable, but early numbers backed up Mills’ claim. Now, the final enrollment changes are in from the Secretary of State’s Office, and the numbers are strong for Republicans.

Between June 1 and June 15, more than 12,000 voters changed their enrollment status to the Republican Party, in addition to 1,294 new voters who registered as Republicans. That’s in comparison to 7,403 voters who changed their status to Democrats and 1,136 new voters who registered as Democrats. Most of the new members of both party were unenrolled voters.

A pretty powerful statement for Republicans, and an indicator that this will be an especially involved election season. Compare the numbers to  Jan. 1 through June 15 of 2008, when Democrats saw 20,513 voters and Republicans saw 5,693 voters enroll in their party during a presidential election season. In an off election season, 16,526 new members for the Republicans is very strong, although their numbers don’t exactly dwarf the Democrats, who saw 10,660 new members.

Jun 1-15 2010 Enrollments and Enrollment Changes

New Registration Enrollments

Party    #
D         1,136
G         157
R         1,294
U         733
Total    3,320

Enrollment Changes

From    To      #
D             G        38
D             R        621
D             U        275
G             D        181
G             R        172
G             U        118
R             D        249
R             G        23
R             U        194
U             D        6,973
U             G        291
U             R    11,303
Total        20,438

Changed To:

Party    #
D          7,403
G          352
R          12,096
U          587

William P. Davis is editor of MaineMedia and a founding editor of the Observer.

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