Scarborough elects incumbents, 1 newcomer to Town Council

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SCARBOROUGH — Voters re-elected three incumbent Town Council candidates and picked one newcomer to serve the town for the next three years.

In a race to decide who would fill the remaining two years of retiring Councilor Michael Wood’s term, voters chose incumbent Councilor Ronald Ahlquist over Planning Board member Kerry Corthell, 3,534 to 2,850.

In a four-way race for three seats on the council, incumbent Councilors Karen D’Andrea (4,757 votes) and Richard Sullivan (4,472), and newcomer James Benedict (3,774) were elected. Paul Andriulli received 3,695 votes.

With three current councilors in the running for four seats, at least one newcomer was bound to be elected, with a possibility for up to three.

Lacking name recognition and a record to be judged on, challengers often find it difficult to best incumbents in an election. So, the question ahead of the election was about which candidates could pull off victory against well-known town officials.

“You never win the first time,” Andriulli said Tuesday night after the results – and his loss – were announced at Scarborough High School. “Maybe I thought more people would know my name.”

Andriulli, a contractor who has lived in Scarborough for 26 years, also said that his criticism of the Wentworth Intermediate School replacement plan – which passed by a landslide and drove many voters to the polls this year – probably hurt his chances of winning election.

Still, Andriulli said he’d run again, and would be better suited now that he’s got one campaign under his belt.

“What can you say?” he asked. “It’s not a popularity contest. You learn a little bit.”

Corthell already had one council election behind her before Tuesday’s vote. Last year, she came in third in a three-way race against Councilors Michael Wood and Judith Roy.

Corthell said she was disappointed by losing to Ronald Ahlquist, but that the councilor’s deep connections to Scarborough worked against her. Corthell has lived in Scarborough just three years, while Ahlquist is a fourth-generation resident.

“Ron and his family have been here for years and years,” Corthell said. “And a lot of people don’t follow these local elections.”

She said it was too soon to say whether she’d run again, but that she enjoys working on the Planning Board and is happy to be able to continue with that body.

“It’s not like (being on Town Council) was the only thing I was interested in doing,” Corthell said.

Because the two incumbents running in the four-way race won, James Benedict, a 63-year-old retired contractor who lost bids for the council the last two years, claimed victory only against Andriulli, and by a thin margin: 79 votes.

He said that running a few times before helped him gain support each successive year. This time, it just worked.

“The first year I ran, I got only 600 votes,” Benedict said Wednesday. “The second time, it was 1,500. This time around, I got 3,600. I’ve got to be doing something right.”

When the election results were announced, Corthell said she was shocked Benedict beat Andriulli because she hadn’t seen him much on the campaign trail.

But Benedict said he campaigned his own way. He said he visited business people, and talked with people he knew personally or from his years in the construction business.

“My campaign was personal in nature,” he said. “I left a good taste about my ability to perform.”

In his campaigns, Benedict has been a critic of the Town Council. This year, he was especially vocal about his view that the residents of Higgins Beach should have received a deal more to their liking with regard to parking in their neighborhood.

Benedict said he doesn’t think that he’ll have a problem working on the council, however, despite how critical he may have been.

“I just think that criticism is part of the job,” he said. “I’m not here to stir the pot. I’m here to benefit the whole town.”

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

Sidebar Elements

Unopposed candidates take School Board, Sanitary District seats

SCARBOROUGH — No surprise, dark-horse write-in winners here on Tuesday.

Christine Massengill and Kelly Noonan Murphy, members of the Wentworth Building Committee, won uncontested seats on the School Board with 5,305 votes and 5,658 votes, respectively.

They replace Chairman Chris Brownsey and board member Colleen Staszko.

Uncontested incumbents Jason Greenleaf (5,510 votes), Charles Andreson (5,327) and Robert McSorely (5,102) were re-elected to the board of the Scarborough Sanitary District.

— Mario Moretto