Down East 2013 ©
State Senator Larry Bliss, a Democrat representing South Portland, Cape Elizabeth, and part of Scarborough, announced Tuesday that he will be resigning his seat  in order to take a job at California State University.
Bliss has served in the legislature for eleven years and was well known for his role as Senate chair of the Judiciary Committee during the last Legislature, where he oversaw hearings on LD 1020, the equal marriage bill, which saw attendance in the thousands.
Bliss will leave the Senate on April 15th, requiring Governor LePage to set a date for a special election.
The contest for the seat will not change the partisan makeup of the senate, where Republicans have a comfortable margin, but it may serve as a referendum on the policies and practices of the current administration and legislative leaders.
The race in District 7 was very close in 2010 and, at one point on election night, it appeared that Bliss had lost to Republican challenger Joe Palmieri , a morning sports show host on WJAB radio and owner of the Chicago Dogs restaurant in Scarborough. Bliss eventually pulled ahead and, after a recount , won with 9,172 votes to Palmieri's 9,097.
Palmieri has not yet announced whether he intends to contest the special election. On the Democratic side, State Representatives Terry Morrison, Jane Eberle, Bryan Kaenrath, and Cynthia Dill all have constituencies that fall within District 7 and could conceivably make a bid for the seat.
The political environment of the election will likely be very different from 2010. In addition to the lack of a incumbent, the national mood will probably have less of an effect. Also, the part of Scarborough contained within District 7 is also part of House district 127, which saw the high-profile drunken driving arrest of incumbent Representative Sean Flaherty, which likely had an effect on the electorate.