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Flaherty loses House seat in Scarborough; Bartlett holds on in Senate

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Flaherty loses House seat in Scarborough; Bartlett holds on in Senate

SCARBOROUGH — It was a good day for Republican legislative candidates on Tuesday in Scarborough, with Amy Volk and Heather Sirocki knocking off two Democrats, including one incumbent.

Volk unseated Rep. Sean Flaherty, D-Scarborough, in House District 127 and Sirocki defeated Democrat Brian Dell'Olio in District 128.

Senate Majority Leader Phil Bartlett, D-Gorham, avoided the Republican trifecta by narrowly keeping his Senate District 6 seat over Republican tea party candidate Matthew Mattingly. Bartlett's winning margin was only 777 votes, winning 8,708 votes to Mattingly's 7,931, according to unofficial results.

"This was a difficult election cycle," Bartlett said, "but I'm honored to have the support of Gorham, Westbrook and Scarborough voters for a fourth term."

Bartlett, 34, said he did not think voters were upset with anything in particular Democrats did at the local level, but that people were looking to shake things up.

"It was a tough night for Democrats," he said. "People have gotten to know me very well since I was first elected. I think I benefited from my experience."

Bartlett was first elected to the Senate in 2004. He grew up in Gorham and attended Tufts University and Harvard Law School. He is an attorney with Scaccia, Lenkowski, Aranson & Bartlett.

Volk, 41, who received 2,503 votes over Flaherty's 2,092, is a small business owner and has lived in Scarborough for 11 years. She is married to Derek Volk, the owner of Volk Packaging in Biddeford.

"I think Scarborough voters decided that I was the candidate that best represented them," Volk said. "I think it was my life experience … and ability to make mature decisions."

Flaherty, a first-term legislator, was arrested Aug. 8 in Freeport after crashing his car on Interstate 295. He pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to a charge of drunken driving.

Flaherty did not respond to several requests for comment Wednesday and Thursday. In an e-mail Friday to constituents, supporters and the press, he did not specifically mention the OUI conviction, but said "I am mostly humbled but I am also incredibly grateful to the thousands of people of Scarborough for being able to weigh the good that I have done in a public way with a regrettable choice I had made in my personal life."

Despite his incumbency, Flaherty, 25, said he faced a "tough uphill climb" against Volk's enthused Republican backers.

"I’m one of just a couple of Democrats to have ever hold this House district," he said. "So I am actually pleased that with all of the hurdles in the campaign, including an extremely late start, we nearly completed an incredible comeback."

Volk said when she takes office she hopes to help get state spending under control and to make sure the state improves the business environment to stop job erosion.

Sirocki, 51, who received 2,511 votes over Dell'Olio's 2,165, has lived in Scarborough since 1984 and is a registered dental hygienist.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

This report was updated Nov. 5, 2010.