SOUTH PORTLAND — Rep. Bryan Kaenrath, D-South Portland, said he wants to make his mark a cooperative one as he returns to Augusta.
On Tuesday, Kaenrath defeated Republican challenger Kevin Battle, 2,092 to 1,870, in House District 124, which covers the western portions of the city.
It was the closest race Kaenrath has had for the seat, and came after he was defeated by Cape Elizabeth resident Rebecca Millett June 12 in the Democratic primary for Maine Senate District 7.
“In some ways, Kevin was a dream opponent. There was no acrimony, bad feelings or bad blood,” Kaenrath said.
Battle was a visible and well-known opponent in what was an affable race. On Tuesday, the candidates greeted voters side by side through the day at the Redbank Community Center on MacArthur Circle.
“Life happens, if it was meant to be, it would have happened. Bryan was a real nice guy,” said Battle, who served almost 27 years as a South Portland police officer before retiring last January.
Kaenrath said the new legislative majority of Democrats will make it the first time he has served with two-party rule between the Blaine House and the Legislature. This is also the last consecutive term he can serve in the district because of state term limits laws.
“My one goal is to be one of those people who is willing to work across the aisle for compromise,” he said. “I want a less partisan place and a more functional place.”
Battle said he enjoyed the campaign, but has more immediate concerns with the election concluded.
“I’ve always been involved in the community, (and) consider myself approachable. It was fun just talking to people,” he said. “I walked up to as many houses as my knees would let me, and now I have to find a job.”