Brunswick council elections take shape; little interest in School Board seats
BRUNSWICK — With the Sept. 4 deadline to return nomination papers about a week away, at least one clash is shaping up for a Town Council seat.
Two current councilors, Joanne King and Karen Klatt, are poised to battle for an at-large seat. King currently holds the position, but will likely be challenged by Klatt, the current District 4 councilor, in a race likely to showcase the two councilors' divergent and often heated disagreements over the last two years.
King and Klatt have taken out papers for the seat. As of Wednesday, neither had returned the 100 signatures required for an at-large candidacy.
Klatt, who has attempted to strike a populist stance with an almost dissident-like opposition to development and Brunswick's longtime power structure, has a vocal group of supporters. However, her combativeness and questioning of town staff during council meetings has at times alienated her from her colleagues on the council.
Earlier this year, the council voted to censure Klatt after an emotionally charged exchange between her and Mike Ouellet, the general contractor of the Maine Street Station project. Since then, other councilors have been quick to protest Klatt's comments, urging Chairwoman Hallie Daughtry to gavel her down. Daughtry has often complied.
Klatt's isolation has had other consequences, most recently when she was the only councilor to object to the legality of a vote during an Aug. 5 meeting about the town manager search. Klatt said the secret vote was illegal, an opinion shared by several experts on the state's Freedom of Access law.
Meanwhile, King's positions have become more assertive since she lost the chair to Daughtry in January. She has lobbied hard for economic development, a position supported by the town's business establishment.
While the King-Klatt race could draw the most attention, two others are shaping up that could change the council's dynamic. Currently District 4 is the only set race; John Perreault and Jason Bergquist have returned papers.
Bergquist, who last year ran for the District 10 state Senate seat as a Green Independent, serves on the Planning Board – the same seat Perreault sought, but lost, last winter.
Daughtry, meanwhile, could face a familiar challenger this fall. Suzan Wilson, who has run against Daughtry twice, has again taken out papers for the District 3 seat.
While the Town Council races may be competitive, School Board elections so far are uncontested.
As of Wednesday, District 4 representative Corrinne Perreault and at-large member Michelle Small had no challengers.
Nobody has taken out papers for the District 3 seat currently held by Eileen Murphy, who isn't seeking re-election.
Nomination papers must be returned to the town clerk's office by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 4.