2 of 3 incumbent city councilors lose in Bath

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BATH — Two City Council incumbents lost Tuesday to two political neophytes.

Four incumbents were re-elected, meanwhile, in uncontested races for the Regional School Unit 1 Board of Directors.

Julie Ambrosino of Green Street defeated longtime Councilor James Omo of North Street, 1,170 to 870, for the councilor-at-large seat. In Ward 1, Phyllis Bailey of Riverview Road defeated one-term Councilor Greg Page of Washington Street, 200-165.

Susan Bauer of Dummer Street was the only incumbent councilor to keep a seat, fending off Al Ferguson of Bowery Street, 203-50.

Ambrosino has lived in Bath for three years, after moving from Baltimore. She is a registered financial associate with Morgan Stanley, and this was her first campaign for public office.

“I was feeling pretty good about (the election) because I’ve had a lot of … positive feedback from the community when I was out canvassing,” Ambrosino said Wednesday.

But she said it was still anybody’s guess on Election Day, given Omo’s three terms on the council – 2005-2011, and then 2014-2017.

“I hadn’t seen a lot of movement on his part as far as putting out the effort of canvassing and things like that,” Ambrosino noted. “I guess because maybe he was thinking he knows the community already.”

“I’m really excited” by the outcome, she added.

Omo, who runs Omo Construction, on Wednesday said he was “not shocked at all” by the results, noting that Ambrosino “put out a lot of signs, and she did what you’re supposed to do when you’re running a campaign.”

He added that he “was just incredibly busy with the (construction) season.”

Omo congratulated Ambrosino on her success and praised the city’s staff. He suggested that he might run next year in state House District 62, which represents Bath.

He said he was particularly surprised by Page’s loss, saying, “that man does a fantastic job. So I’m somewhat thinking, is this just a sign of the times,” where voters are looking for change by replacing incumbents “to see if that shakes anything up.”

In Ward 1, Bailey said Wednesday “I am feeling great. I met very wonderful people as I walked through the ward, and I’m really looking forward to serving them.”

Bailey has lived in Bath for 11 years. She runs the Coventry Care Link office in Freeport, a long-term-care insurance company. Like Ambrosino, this was Bailey’s first campaign for elected office.

“I would like to congratulate Phyllis, and I wish her the best of luck,” Page said. He also said “(voters) haven’t heard the last of me; I can tell you that.”

Bauer, a chef at the Chewonki Foundation in Wiscasset, was an administrator at the Bath Area Family YMCA, Hyde School, and Maine Jung Center in Brunswick. She has lived in Bath 20 years and serves on the Pattern Free Library board.

She said she was surprised not see to Omo and Page win.

“I look forward to serving the city, and I also look forward to reaching out to Al Ferguson, because I think he really had some good ideas, and I’d love to talk to him about that,” she said.

Ferguson has spent about four years on the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Although all RSU 1 candidates must reside in and be registered in their municipality, the election is conducted at large, allowing all district voters to cast ballots for every position.

In Bath, Megan Fuller received 2,046 votes for the city’s Municipal Residence position, Anita Brown earned 1,966 for Arrowic’s position, William Perkins got 1,955 for his Phippsburg seat, and Jennifer Ritch-Smith had 1,955 for her Woolwich position.

District-wide, Fuller received 3,587 votes; Brown, 3,538; Perkins, 3,551; and Ritch-Smith, 3,578.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.