13 official candidates for Portland mayor; 3 more await verification

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First mayoral forums scheduled next week

PORTLAND — Thirteen candidates on Tuesday were guaranteed places on the Nov. 8 ballot in the city’s first popular mayoral election in 88 years.

Three other candidates have submitted their nomination papers to City Hall, but are awaiting the clerk’s verification.

Initially, 21 people took out nomination papers to enter the mayoral election. When Monday’s filing deadline passed, 16 had submitted the papers containing at least 300 signatures.

In addition to the mayoral election, candidates also submitted papers for two district seats on the City Council and three seats on the School Board.

Two candidates are seeking a seat on the Portland Water District Board of Trustees, and only one person is seeking one of the five seats open on the Peaks Island Council.

The following names will be placed on the Nov. 8 mayoral election ballot: Michael Brennan, Peter Bryant, Ralph Carmona, Jill Duson, John Eder, Hamza Haadoow, Jodie Lapchick, David Marshall, Nicholas Mavodones, Markos Miller, Jed Rathband, Ethan Strimling and Christopher Vail.

Erik Bennett, Charles Bragdon and Richard Dodge have submitted nomination papers, but have not had the papers verified.

With Labor Day around the corner, the mayoral campaign is about to start in earnest. There are two public candidate forums scheduled for next week.

The Portland Club will host an event Tuesday, Sept. 6, from 7-9 p.m. at 156 State St., and the League of Young Voters will host a forum Thursday, Sept. 8, from 7-9 p.m. at Lucid Stage, 29 Baxter Boulevard.

Portland Club President Steve Luttrell said he originally wanted to have a traditional debate between the candidates, but with potentially 16 people vying for the office, the club is trying something new.

“We decided to do something akin to speed dating,” Luttrell said.

Each candidate will get two minutes to make an opening remark, he said, before taking a seat at an individual table. Members of the public will circulate through the room and have conversations with the candidates.

“That way it will only a couple hours rather than a couple days,” Luttrell said.

Nicola Wells, state director of the League of Young Voters, said her group is still working out the details of its forum, which as of Tuesday morning had 13 candidates committed to attend.

Candidates will likely take the stage in groups of four or five to answer questions, she said.

Wells said it’s challenging to have so many candidates, but it’s an exciting challenge.

“(We) want to give all of them a chance to shine,” she said.

Other races

City Councilor John Coyne is running uncontested for re-election in District 5. But in District 4, Councilor Cheryl Leeman may be challenged by Berkshire Road resident Ezekiel Callahan, whose papers have not yet been verified.

School Board members Justin Costa and Marnie Morrione are running uncontested races in Districts 4 and 5, respectively.

But at-large board member Elizabeth Holton, whose nomination papers were awaiting verification, is being challenged by Josephine Okot. Three others took out papers, but did not return them.

Ivy Street resident John Safarik and Salem Street resident Bradford Cleaves are competing for the seat on the water district board.

Sterling Street resident Mary Anne Mitchell is the only candidate for one of five open seats on the seven-member Peaks Island Council.

The PIC is an advisory panel to the City Council. It needs a quorum of four members to conduct business, and there are currently only two sitting councilors. 

Residents considering write-in campaigns must declare their candidacies with the city clerk by Sept. 29.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or rbillings@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @randybillings