Democrat wins special election to fill House 121 seat

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Democratic candidate Kim Monaghan-Derrig narrowly defeated Republican candidate Nancy Thompson in a special election Tuesday night for the House District 121 seat.

Monaghan-Derrig beat Thompson 1,340 to 1,164.

“I feel very elated, very thrilled and very relieved,” Monaghan-Derrig said Tuesday night. “It has been an amazing five weeks and I am so glad we did it. I am going to work very hard to reach out with a civil tone and work with everyone.”

Monaghan-Derrig said she wanted to thank Thompson for running a great campaign.

“Her hard work made me work even harder,” she said.

The District 121 seat represents the northern portion of town. It became available when Cynthia Dill won a special election in May to fill a vacancy in Senate District 7, representing South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and a portion of Scarborough.

The special election to fill the House seat was set for August because of a special legislative session scheduled for September to discuss congressional redistricting.

Monaghan-Derrig, 52, of Russet Lane, is a marketing and communications professional, currently working for Segway Tours of Portland. She is also working on a master’s degree in public policy and management at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine.

Monaghan-Derrig is a member of the Cape Elizabeth School Board and said she plans to resign from that post.

“I will step down, I’m just don’t know when, yet,” she said Tuesday. “It will be well in time for the November election though.”

But nomination papers for two School Board seats scheduled to be on the November ballot have been available since Aug. 1 and are due back to Town Hall by Sept. 9.

Town Clerk Debra Lane said she is still unsure if an additional open seat could be added to the ballot halfway through the process.

“I haven’t called (the Maine Municipal Association) to get their opinion yet since we were unsure of the outcome of the election,” Lane said Tuesday before the polls closed. “But, if necessary, that call will happen very quickly.”

Lane said the Cape voters were undeterred by the rain, the summer vote, or a special election and came out in droves.

The unofficial results indicate voter turnout was 33 percent, and Lane reported that 2,509 ballots were cast, 708 of them absentee.

“Cape wants it’s voice heard,” Lane said. “The residents are very engaged.”

Cape residents Pamela Outwin, 25 and Jacqueline Mylroie, 24 said they don’t ever miss a chance to vote.

Mylroie said the off-year elections can be the most important.

“These elections are an indication of the temperature of the population,” she said. “It is a good way to gauge how people feel.”

Outwin said having the opportunity to vote is important to her since people her age often don’t exercise their rights.

“It makes me burn to think of how many people … are dying to have their voices heard,” she said. “I am disappointed in my generation for taking for granted what people long for, fight for and in some cases die for on a daily basis.”

Thompson, 52, of Pine Ridge Road, works at Living Wealth Partners insurance company in Portland. She is the mother of five and serves on the executive board and is the vice president elect at the Center for Grieving Children. 

“I’m a little disappointed,” Thompson said Wednesday morning. “But, as a newcomer to politics, it was a great experience. I learned a lot, I received a lot of help from some wonderful people and I developed a lot of strong friendships through the process.”

In the meantime, Thompson said she will continue to volunteer and stay active in the community. She said since this is the second legislative session, she may be out campaigning in the future.

“Don’t be too surprised if you see Nancy Thompson knocking at the door,” she said.

Even though the vote close – a 176 vote difference – Thompson said she would not seek a recount.

Emily, Thompson’s daughter, came from Boston to support her mother in her final night of campaigning.

“I am so proud of her,” she said. “She stuck her neck out there to do something good. I am very excited she did this.”

This story was updated Aug. 17 at 9:50 a.m.

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or Follow her on Twitter: @amy_k_anderson.