Secretary of State Charlie Summers defeated five other Republican candidates last night to secure the GOP nomination his bid to fill retiring Senator Olympia Snowe’s seat this November. The true winners of the primary, however, were Maine taxpayers. Charlie Summers made a written commitment to them to oppose higher taxes when he signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge earlier this year.

Only one of the top three candidates refused to take that same Pledge: Rick Bennett. This fact was highlighted in debates and by the Portland Press Herald in the days leading up to the primary.

“A candidate who says ‘Yes, I signed the Pledge,’ has the equivalent of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval as far as taxes are concerned,” said Maine’s Pledge Chair Mary Adams. “Signing the Pledge can make a difference in the outcome of elections because voters are seriously looking for candidates who won’t raise their taxes and who are willing to sign off on that fact, not just talk about it.”

Charlie Summers received nearly 30 percent of the vote to Bruce Poliquin’s 23 percent and Richard Bennett’s 18 percent. Both Poliquin and Summers signed the Pledge. After all of the votes were counted, Pledge signers received an overwhelming majority of the votes cast in Tuesday’s primary.

“I want to congratulate Charlie Summers on securing the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Maine,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “Republican primary voters clearly took their displeasure with Washington’s tax and spend agenda to the ballot box and rewarded the candidates who took the Pledge to stand with them against Washington’s tax and spend agenda.”

[PDF of Press Release]