Maine House: Battle, Sirocki win tight re-election contests

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Republican incumbent Rep. Kevin Battle retained his House District 33 seat Tuesday, fighting off a challenge from South Portland City Councilor Brad Fox.

Battle defeated Democrat Fox by a little more than 250 votes, 2,154 to 1,896.

Fox, who is serving his first term on the City Council, said on Wednesday that he “had a good time running,” and that he’s “not unhappy” by the outcome of the race.

He said he is pleased with how “clean” Battle’s campaign was.

Battle agreed and said he wanted to “thank my opponent for a good, clean race – we talked and had a lot of respect for each other, right through the (election) and even afterwards.”

Battle, of Sandy Hill Road, said, “It feels very good” to have been re-elected, and that it solidifies his impression “that people are satisfied with the work I’ve been doing.”

In September, Battle called himself a “middle-of-the-road” Republican and said his only agenda is to represent the needs of all of his constituents.

He is the harbor master in Portland, and he worked for nearly 30 years in the South Portland Police Department before retiring in 2012.

District 28

Incumbent Rep. Heather Sirocki, R-Scarborough, narrowly retained her District 28 seat over first-time legislative candidate and  Scarborough Town Councilor Chris Caiazzo on Tuesday.

Sirocki, a three-term Republican, defeated Caiazzo, 3,034 to 2,732.

Sirocki is a dental hygienist who was first elected in 2010. After serving this upcoming term, she will be termed out. She did not return a call for comment Wednesday morning.

Caiazzo, 46, previously served for three years on the Scarborough Board of Education.

Admittedly disappointed Wednesday morning, Caiazzo said, “We worked really hard and had a lot of support from the community. At the end of the day, it wasn’t enough to pull through.”

Caiazzo said he might consider running again for the Legislature in the future, but “for right now, I’m going to take a break and continue the council work – we’ve got plenty to do here in town.”

District 29

Incumbent Republican Rep. Karen Vachon was elected to a second term in House 29, which covers the eastern part of Scarborough.

Vachon defeated Democrat Theodora “Theo” Kalikow, 2,543 to 2,039.

Vachon is a licensed health insurance agent and previously worked as a national account manager in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as in public relations at Scarborough Downs. She couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday morning.

Kalikow, the former president of both the University of Maine at Farmington and the University of Southern Maine, was a first-time candidate.

“My worthy opponent seems to have won,” she said. “The people spoke and they picked her.”

Kalikow said the race was well fought.

“I think we offered an extremely clear set of alternatives and we disagreed on nearly everything,” she said. “Voters saw that and picked who they wanted.”

District 30

Incumbent state Rep. Kim Monaghan, D-Cape Elizabeth, defeated Republican George Van Syckel in House 30.

Monaghan won her fourth term by a vote of 4,096 to 1,955. Cape Elizabeth saw an 80 percent voter turnout with 6,598 ballots cast.

Monaghan is a lifelong Cape Elizabeth resident and the project manager at CommonDreams.org, a nonprofit online news publication based in Portland. She is also an adjunct professor of tourism marketing at the University of Southern Maine.

“I’m very happy to have been re-elected to my fourth and final term as state Representative,” Monaghan said. “This win is really based on the merits and views of Cape Elizabeth voters. I think I resonate with them.”

Van Syckel, a minister and a salesman at Prime Mercedes in Scarborough, was a first-time candidate. He is a member of the Spurwink Rod and Gun Club and said he decided to run after a gun club member asked if anyone would volunteer.

The two candidates disagreed on most every issue, but Van Syckel on Wednesday spoke highly of his opponent.

“Kim’s a wonderful person and she more closely represents the political views of the town,” he said.

Van Syckel went on to say that this race was “just laying the groundwork for the future,” and that he intends to run again in 2018.

Monaghan said she “wish(es) him well,” but if Van Syckel runs again, he needs to keep in mind the views of residents.

“I think if he’s serious about making another run, he should consider the views of Cape Elizabeth,” she said. “Right now he’s not on the pulse of voters.”

Districts 31, 32

In a pair of uncontested House races in South Portland, Democrat and political newcomer Lois Reckitt, 71, was elected in District 31 and incumbent Rep. Scott Hamann, D-South Portland, was re-elected in District 32.

Reckitt received 4,615 votes and Hamann, 3,903.

Hamann, 35, who was elected for a third term, has served on the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee, as well as the Health and Human Services Committee.

Alex Acquisto contributed to this report. Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.