1986 Maine gubernatorial election

← 1982 November 4, 1986 1990 →
Nominee John McKernan James Tierney
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 170,312 128,744
Percentage 39.90% 30.16%

Nominee Sherry Huber John Menario
Party Independent Independent
Popular vote 64,317 62,102
Percentage 15.07% 14.87%

County results
McKernan:      30–40%      40–50%
Tierney:      30–40%

Governor before election

Joseph Brennan

Elected Governor

John McKernan

The 1986 Maine gubernatorial election took place on November 4, 1986. Incumbent Democratic Governor Joseph Brennan was term limited and ineligible to seek re-election. First district Congressman John McKernan defeated Democratic Party challenger James Tierney as well as former Republican turned Independent Sherry Huber and former Portland, Maine city manager John Menario, making McKernan the first Republican to win The Blaine House since 1966. William Diamond unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic nomination.

The three main issues during the campaign were: the future of the Maine Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Wiscasset, economic development and McKernan's congressional record.[1]

Maine Yankee

The future of the Power Plant had been placed up for statewide referendum in 1980 and again in 1982. McKernan and Menario opposed the closure of Maine Yankee, while Tierney and Huber supported the efforts to close the Plant in 1988.[1]

General election



1986 Gubernatorial Election, Maine[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Republican John R. McKernan Jr. 170,312 39.90% -
Democratic James Tierney 128,744 30.16% -
Independent Sherry Huber 64,317 15.07% -
Independent John Menario 62,102 14.87% -
Majority 41,568 9.74%
Republican gain from Democratic Swing


  1. ^ a b Mothes, J. Barry (October 31, 1986). "Three issues have hung in there all the way". Sun Journal. p. A8. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  2. ^ Guide to US Elections, Fifth Edition, Volume II. CQ Press. 2005. pp. 1497–1499. ISBN 978-1-56802-981-8. Retrieved 2009-05-06.