DeChant, Tepler keep Bath, Topsham House seats for Democrats

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BATH — Incumbent state Rep. Jennifer DeChant, D-Bath, defeated Republican challenger Ryan Daniels Tuesday to win a second term in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Democrat Denise Tepler defeated Republican Kim Talbot and Green Independent Daniel Stromgren to secure the state House District 54 seat vacated by Rep. Andrew Mason, D-Topsham.

DeChant received 2,432 votes to Daniels’ 1,255, a nearly 2-1 margin. The two Bath residents competed in House District 52.

I am honored that the voters of Bath chose to send me back to Augusta as their representative,” DeChant said Wednesday via email. “This effort reflects the hard work of volunteers and family who supported my campaign. I intend to spend my second term working with my colleagues to make Maine a better place for families and small businesses.”

DeChant became executive director of the Chocolate Church Arts Center last year, following time as public relations manager for Sea Bags, a manufacturing company in Portland.

She was also chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Democrats from 2000-2004 and has served as treasurer of the Maine Democratic Party. She was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2004-2008 and was one of Maine’s eight Democratic super delegates in 2008.

DeChant has also served on the board for Elmhurst, an organization that supports people with disabilities, and is a member of the Cosmopolitan Club and the Bath Parks and Recreation Commission. She has also been on the Main Street Bath Promotions Committee.

Daniels has been studying electrical engineering at the University of Southern Maine and is a worm digger. He served in the U.S. Army and is still in the National Guard. This is his first campaign for an elected office.

House 54

Tepler received 2,217 votes, followed by Talbot with 2,130 and 535 for Stromgren.

“This was a clean race and well run by all,” Tepler said via email early Wednesday morning, expressing thanks to her opponents, as well as to “the people of Topsham for coming out and voting in great numbers. The large turnout made me proud. And, I am truly honored by this opportunity to represent you in Augusta, and will work hard on your behalf.”

Tepler, a local foods advocate, freelance teacher and writer, has served two terms on Topsham’s Finance Committee. She was also on the School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors from 1996-2002, where she chaired the policy and curriculum committees. She is also a new member of the Brunswick Food Shed Advisory Committee.

Tepler was defeated in House campaigns in 2008 and 2010 by former state Rep. Kerri Prescott, R-Topsham. After withdrawing from this year’s election in June, Mason nominated fellow Democrat Tepler to replace him on the ballot.

Talbot handles bookkeeping and customer service for her husband’s small business, and works at the Great Impasta in Brunswick.

Stromgren, a clinical social worker, has been a member of the Maine Greens since the party’s 1994 inception. He is treasurer of the party, sits on its statewide steering committee, and has worked on several campaigns and national party issues.

Stromgren, who was adopted as a child, has been a longtime advocate for adoption rights. He ran unsuccessfully last year in a special election in state Senate District 19, which prior to redistricting included Sagadahoc County and the Lincoln County town of Dresden.

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.