LEWISTON — The final list of candidates is set for November’s municipal election, and there’s potential for significant turnover in the ranks of city government.
Many seats remain with just a single candidate, but a rush of activity Friday saw a number of new candidates verified, especially for School Committee.
As of Wednesday afternoon, candidates had yet to turn in papers for School Committee seats in Wards 3, 4 and 6, but at least three candidates qualified for the ballot Friday. City officials posted a notice online and on social media Wednesday, drawing attention to the Friday deadline and the lack of School Committee candidates.
While the race for mayor has taken shape over a number of months – eventually fielding five candidates – the races for City Council and School Committee came together as the filing deadline approached.
At the very least, there will be a new Lewiston mayor, four new city councilors and four new School Committee members.
On Friday, candidates who qualified included Francis Gagnon, the Ward 3 School Committee incumbent, as well as two newcomers vying for Ward 4 – Tanya Estabrook and Benjamin Villeneuve.
For City Council, qualifying Friday were Donna Gillespie for Ward 2, and Michael Marcotte in Ward 7.
But while there is almost a full field of candidates, many races are uncontested. Of the seven races for City Council, only three feature more than one candidate. For School Committee, only half of the races have more than one candidate.
There is still no candidate for School Committee Ward 6.
In the run-up to the election, a number of School Committee members, including longtime member and Chairwoman Linda Scott, said they would not seek re-election. Three city councilors also decided not to run, while Councilor Shane Bouchard made a last-minute decision to run for mayor.
To qualify as a candidate, a person must be a registered voter of that ward, be at least 20 years old and submit nomination papers with a minimum of 50 signatures from registered voters in that ward.
The city charter lays out a specific process for a write-in candidate to be elected, as well as a process if no one is elected.
If no write-in candidate qualifies during the election, the charter stipulates that the City Council may appoint any vacant council seat within 30 days of the election, while the mayor nominates any vacant School Committee seats, subject to City Council approval.
Candidates for Lewiston’s municipal election in November:
Mayor: Shane Bouchard, Mark Cayer, Ben Chin, Ron Potvin and Charles Soule
Council Ward 1: James Lysen
Council Ward 2: Zach Pettengill and Donna Gillespie
Council Ward 3: Alicia Rea
Council Ward 4: Michel A. Lajoie
Council Ward 5: Kristen Cloutier
Council Ward 6: Joline Landry Beam and Pauline Gudas
Council Ward 7: Thomas Shannon and Michael Marcotte
School Committee At-Large: Megan Parks and Safiya Khalid
School Committee Ward 1: Renee Courtemanche and Ahmed Sheikh
School Committee Ward 2: Monique Roy
School Committee Ward 3: Francis Gagnon
School Committee Ward 4: Tanya Estabrook and Benjamin Villeneuve
School Committee Ward 5: Hassan Abdi and Luke Jensen
School Committee Ward 6: None
School Committee Ward 7: Tina Hutchinson