Cohen, Rose win South Portland City Council seats; Reynolds elected to School Board

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SOUTH PORTLAND — First-time candidate Eben Rose and incumbent Mayor Linda Cohen were elected to the City Council Tuesday night in clear-cut races. 

Libby Reynolds, of Thirlmere Avenue, narrowly defeated Matt Perkins, of Elderberry Drive, for the District 4 Board of Education seat, 1,898 to 1,637.

Results for all races in South Portland were still unofficial Wednesday morning. 

City Council

Cohen, of Tamarack Drive, was elected to a second term in District 4 over first-time candidate Andrew Snyder, of Boysenberry Drive, 2,785 to 1,127. 

Cohen, who grew up in Portland, but moved to South Portland about 40 years ago, manages the Mill Creek branch of Bangor Savings Bank. She will finish her first three-year term in December. Prior to her time as a councilor, she worked as city clerk in South Portland for nearly 13 years before becoming city clerk in Portland for another 10.

On Wednesday outside the South Portland Community Center, resident Betsey Cummings, who voted for Cohen and Rose, said she believes Cohen’s three years of experience on the council, plus the fact she’s “just getting started” and has long-term aspirations, made her an appealing candidate. 

“I am am very grateful to the South Portland voters for bringing me back for another term,” Cohen said Wednesday morning in an email.  “I look forward to seeing the council move forward to implement recent initiatives, and I will continue to listen to all sides before voting for what I feel is best for the entire city.”

Over the last few days, Cohen said, she heard from “many voters that they were supporting me because I’m a centrist, and that they appreciate the thoughtful process I use to make my decisions. That is who I am, and that won’t change.”

Rose, of Buchanan Street, defeated Ernest L. Stanhope Jr., of Fessenden Avenue, 2,476 to 1,500 for the District 3 seat being vacated by Councilor Melissa Linscott, who did not seek re-election.

Outside the South Portland Community Center late Tuesday afternoon, resident Dan Walsh said he voted for Rose because he shares “similar views on a lot of issues.”

Rose, who has been an aggressive opponent of the NGL Supply Terminal Co. application to construct a liquid petroleum gas storage facility at Rigby Yard, thanked residents for their votes early Wednesday morning. 

“Especially those who read up on the candidates and keep up on the issues,” he wrote in an email. “These are our best expressions of representative democracy.”

School Board

Reynolds will replace District 4 School Board member James Gilboy, who left the board in late July due to a conflict of interest, about five months before his three-year term expires in December. 

She is the assistant vice president and branch manager of the Key Bank branch in Mill Creek, and vice president of the Skillin Elementary School PTA and the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Community Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Presque Isle, she moved to South Portland 10 years ago with her husband. They have two children, ages 4 and 6.

“It was long long day, but totally worth it,” she wrote in an email Wednesday morning. “I really enjoyed meeting South Portland residents and being part of a great turnout in an off- year election. It was a very close race and I am grateful to the community for the support.”

Reynolds said she is looking “forward to getting involved right away,” particularly the continuing discussions about consolidation of Mahoney and Memorial middle schools, and possibly changing start times for middle and high school students.

“I want to make sure that we are being smart about our choices and doing what is best for the children and not just what is best for the ‘bottom line.’  Ideally, the result would be best for both,” Reynolds said. 

In uncontested races, School Board Chairman Dick Matthews, of Boothby Avenue, was re-elected in District 3, along with Tappan Fitzgerald, of Massachusetts Avenue in District 5. 

Voter turnout was 23 percent; according to the city clerk’s office, 4,290 of South Portland’s 18,874 registered voters cast ballots.

Alex Acquisto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow Alex on Twitter: @AcquistoA

South Portland City Council candidate Eben Rose, center, greets South Portland voter Mike Kupfer outside the South Portland Community Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3. Waiting to greet voters is School Board candidate Matthew Perkins.




Eva Wilson, 21 months old, waits in line with her mother Alicia to vote at the South Portland Community Center on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

South Portland and Scarborough reporter for The Forecaster. Graduate of Western Kentucky University and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies. Alex can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106.