In the continental United States, the state of Maine is where the sun's first rays touch the shore. It would make sense that the state of Maine would also be the first place to report back election results. But Maine actually closes two hours behind such states as Indiana and Kentucky, and an hour behind Virginia and Florida. Also, perhaps due to the vast stretches of its wild frontier, it took a while for all precincts to report. In fact, as of this writing, two days later, 2% of precincts have still not reported in.
Maine's senate seat was in the hands of Olympia Snowe, one of the Senate's few remaining moderate Republicans. Although Snowe was popular in Maine, the national stances of the Republican Party had become conservative enough that she might not have been re-elected this year. For that reason, or perhaps just out of weariness, she chose to not run. Angus King, an independent who had served as governor from 1995 to 2003, entered the race. Although independent candidates don't usually get far in races for statewide office, this seems to be less true in Maine. Not only was King a contender, but he was widely considered to be the front-runner, ahead of Republican Secretary of State Charles Summers, Jr. and Democrat Cynthia Dill. King's polling lead was strong and consistent enough that the major networks called the state for him shortly after the polls closed in Maine.
Although King is an independent, he will probably, like his fellow New England independents Bernie Sanders and Joseph Lieberman, caucus with the Democrats. The race shows some of the oddities of the partisan Senatorial system: the seat is considered a "pick-up" for Democrats, and will strengthen their edge in the Senate, even though there is probably very few policy differences between Olympia Snowe and Angus King.