Duson, Costa, Cook carry Portland City Council races

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PORTLAND — Incumbents – or those supported by one – carried the day in three City Council elections Tuesday.

On the School Board, two new members were elected with incumbent Marnie Morrione in three uncontested races.

One seat on the Peaks Island Council remains to be filled.

In a contentious race for an at-large City Council seat, incumbent Councilor Jill Duson turned aside challenges from Joey Brunelle and Bree LaCasse. Duson received 8,597 votes, with Brunelle and LaCasse getting 5,894 and 5,182, respectively.

In District 4, covering the areas north and west of Back Cove to Stevens and Allen avenues, incumbent Councilor Justin Costa defeated Kim Rich, 2,700 to 1,277.

In District 5, extending from District 4 to the Westbrook and Falmouth boundaries, Kim Cook defeated Marpheen Chann and Craig Dorais in a race to replace Councilor David Brenerman. Cook, the treasurer for Brenerman’s 2014 campaign, received 63 percent, or 2,462 votes. Chann finished second with 872 votes; Dorais got 566.

Voter turnout throughout the city was about 30 percent, according to the city clerk’s office.

“I am very, very humbled by the turnout,” Duson said Tuesday. “I’ve never had two opponents who threw themselves into this so much and worked so hard.”

Brunelle and LaCasse were both strong supporters of the $64 million bond to rebuild four city elementary schools, while Duson drafted the $32 million alternative to repair two schools while waiting to see if the state will fund work on two others.

She said though her bond alternative failed, voters distinguished the issues from her candidacy.

“I’ve always been able to listen around the edges where people who are speaking are upset,” she said.

The Brunelle and LaCasse campaigns sparred at times over advertising tactics, polling and use of mailing lists.

“I have never run for an election where these tactics were used,” Duson said. “It inspired me to work even harder.”

Costa credited his victory to relationships he built, dating back to his service on the School Board.

“It is good to know people appreciate the things I’ve been doing,” he said. “I’m looking forward to another positive three years.”

As she opened doors for voters in the drizzle at First Baptist Church on Canco Road, Rich said she had enjoyed the campaign and meeting people.

“I did go home and put on five more layers,” she said as a chill set in at dusk.

Cook said she would like to continue Brenerman’s efforts at economic development in the city, while adding her focus on housing and zoning as the city rewrites its zoning code.

“It will be exciting to bring my experience and perspectives forward,” she said.

Though she got 63 percent of the vote in a three-candidate race, Cook said Chann and Dorais made the field of candidates strong and committed.

“We were all running for council with our own perspectives and ideas,” she said. “We were not running against each other.”

Morrione won her fourth term representing District 5 on the School Board.

Mark Balfantz, 150 Brentwood St., is the new at-large board member, replacing John Eder.

In District 4, Timothy Atkinson, 24 Hartley St., will take the seat that has been open since the resignation of Stephanie Hatzenbuehler in July.  All terms are for three years.

Also on the city ballots were two, three-year seats on the Peaks Island Council. Stephen Anderson, of 924 Seashore Ave., was the only candidate to file nomination papers in that election.

Gary Libby, of 1696 Forest Ave., won a new five-year term as Portland Water District trustee in an uncontested race.

Peaks Island resident Patrick Flynn was re-elected to the Casco Bay Lines Board of Directors, as was Scott Johnston of Little Diamond Island. Both were unopposed. On Great Diamond Island, James Luedke defeated incumbent Roger Robinson 121-117. 

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Portland City Councilor David Brenerman will be replaced by his former campaign treasurer, Kim Cook. Cook defeated two challengers Nov. 7 to win the District 5 seat.

Councilor Jill Duson won a sixth term and retained her at-large seat on the Portland City Council on Nov. 7.

Portland City Councilor Justin Costa greets voters Nov. 7 at St. Pius Church on Ocean Avenue. He was re-elected to his District 4 seat. Behind him is Bree LaCasse, who finished third in her bid for an at-large seat.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.