Recount scheduled in South Portland School Board election; DeAngelis, Gilboy win City Council seats

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Former City Councilor Rosemarie DeAngelis won a three-way race to again represent District 3 on the council Tuesday, while about a dozen votes separated two School Board candidates.

City Clerk Sue Mooney said Friday that a recount will be conducted Monday, Nov. 9, at 4 p.m. at City Hall to determine who will represent District 5 on the School Board. Unofficial results indicated that Alan Livingston received 4,166 votes and Tappan Fitzgerald received 4,152. During the certification process, however, Fitzgerald picked up an additional vote, trimming Livingston’s lead to 13 votes.

Fitzgerald said Thursday morning he has requested a recount, because of the “unusual circumstances” of the city running out of ballots and having to photocopy and hand-count about 1,000 ballots.

“If I lost by one vote, I’m fine with that,” Fitzgerald said. “But we want to make sure it’s right.” 

Mooney said that 63 percent, or 11,616, of the 18,348 registered voters turned out Tuesday. The city last ran out of ballots in the 2004 presidential election, she said. 

Assistant City Clerk Karen Morrill said on Wednesday that the city does not require a recount of close votes, so it would be up to Fitzgerald to formally request one in writing. 

Licensing Administrator Jennifer Scholtz, who has been with the city for 10 years, said this is the first recount in recent memory, so the clerk’s office will have to consult with the city attorney for more information about the recount process and whether Fitzgerald would have to pay for a portion or all of the recount costs.

If the results stand, Livingston said he was surprised to have won the school race and that he is looking forward to getting to work on school issues, such as the replacement of the high school and a plan to consolidate the city’s two middle schools. 

“I was quite surprised to find out I had won since I didn’t put out any (campaign) signs,” Livingston said.  “Now I feel a big responsibility to get working on the issues in our schools. It’s obvious the high school needs attention. It would be nice to get the whole (renovation), but I need to get a pulse on what the city will support.”

Both candidates are life-long residents of South Portland and believe that the other will make a great representative on the board.  

“I had a nice conversation with (Livingston) yesterday, and think he would do a great job,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “He said the same about me.”

In the District 3 City Council race, DeAngelis, who served on the City Council from 2003 to 2006, received 41 percent, or 4,010, of the 9,727 votes cast. Christopher Kessler placed a strong second his first time running for public office, garnering 2,998 votes, or 31 percent. Gary Crosby, who sponsored the Willard Beach dog ban ordinance defeated by voters, received 2,636 votes, or 27 percent.  

Councilor Maxine Beecher ran unopposed for re-election in District 4 and receivd 8.478 votes.

DeAngelis, a registered Democrat, is a 57-year-old instructor at Southern Maine Community College, a part-time speech pathologist, a guardian ad litem and family court mediator. The Buttonwood Street resident, who supports education and open space, said she was honored to return to the council and vowed to be the voice of residents.

“I don’t have a personal agenda,” DeAngelis said. “Primarily, I want to hear from people and take forth the issues that are important to them.”

Crosby, meanwhile, said he believed all along that the fate of the ordinance to ban dogs on Willard Beach would determine whether he was elected to the council. That referendum failed by 2,404 votes and Crosby placed third in a three-way race, 1,374 voes behind DeAngelis and 362 votes behind political newcomer Kessler – a member of the South Portland Dog Owners Group – who took the District 1 vote. 

Crosby complimented residents for turning out on Nov. 3 and did not rule out a fourth campaign for the council. “There’s always the at-large seat next year,” he said.  

James Gilboy
won his third term representing District 4 on the School Board by defeating challenger Kendall Fassett by 294 votes, 4,181 to 3,787. Gilboy’s lead was trimmed considerably during the certification process; the unofficial results put Gilboy ahead by 508 votes. Gilboy still carried 52 percent of the ballots cast.

This was the first time that Gilboy has faced a challenger for his School Board seat. He was first elected as a write-in candidate in 2003 and then ran unopposed in 2006. He said the vote was confirmation that he is on the right track when it comes to making decisions about the city’s schools. 

“I think it was clear for the voters to elect someone who has already been dealing with the issues of the schools,” Gilboy said. “It’s a validation that I have the best interest of the students and the best interests of the taxpayers in mind when I vote on something.”

Meanwhile, the late Michael Eastman received 7,287 votes for School Board in District 3. Since he died in September and no write-in candidate emerged, the City Council will have to appoint someone to fill the seat until the next general election. 

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]

This report was updated on Thursday, Nov. 5, and Friday, Nov. 6.