Mayoral Candidate Mark Paradis dies

LEWISTON — Mayoral candidate Mark Paradis' death Friday left plenty of questions about what would happen to next week's election.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo explains how the mayoral election will proceed after the passing of mayoral candidate Mark Paradis on Friday. At left is City Councilor Renee Bernier and at right, Mayor Larry Gilbert.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston Mayor Larry Gilbert comments on the passing of mayoral candidate Mark Paradis on Friday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston City Councilor Renee Bernier, at podium, and city officials announce the passing of mayoral candidate Mark Paradis at a news conference held at City Hall on Friday.

Jose Leiva/Sun Journal

Lewiston City Councilor Renee Bernier announces the passing of Lewiston mayoral candidate Mark Paradis at a news conference at City Hall in Lewiston on Friday.

Paradis, 59, died in the early afternoon at Central Maine Medical Center of complications from pneumonia —  just five days before a runoff election between Paradis and Robert Macdonald.

Tuesday's vote will go on as scheduled, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said. 

Friday afternoon, friends and supporters of Paradis' campaign gathered in Lewiston City Council chambers and urged voters to pick his name.

Paradis can't be mayor, but he can still win Tuesday's vote. His supporters Friday said that was their goal.

"Throughout his longtime public service and recent campaign, we shared many ideas and plans about Lewiston's future," City Councilor Renee Bernier said. "As such, I can think of no better way for residents to honor him than by supporting his vision for leadership at the polls."

A Macdonald victory would make him the new mayor, and he'd be sworn in with the City Council and School Committee on Jan. 3.

But a Paradis victory Tuesday would reset the mayoral election, according to Montejo. The seat would be declared vacant and the city would schedule a new vote. Any registered Lewiston voter could apply to be on the ballot.

"I think (Paradis) was the best candidate for the city of Lewiston," Mayor Larry Gilbert said. "He and only he would have been the best candidate. So I would like to see the process continue beyond Tuesday, and that's why I'm urging citizens to vote for him."

Campaign manager Michael Dumas said he would be at the polls Tuesday representing Paradis. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Center gym, 145 Birch St. It will be the only polling place.

Paradis announced Wednesday that he had been diagnosed with cancer soon after the Nov. 8 vote. He had started radiation treatments but said doctors thought he would be healthy enough to serve at least one term as mayor.

His campaign was continuing, Paradis said Wednesday, and he hoped voters would choose him.

"With cancer, or without cancer, I am the right person to lead this city," Paradis said Wednesday. "I refuse to let cancer dictate my life to me."

Dumas said Paradis was admitted to CMMC Thursday night. Dumas learned of the candidate's illness Friday morning, and the Lewiston City Clerk's office was alerted.

Campaign members and friends declined to say what kind of cancer Paradis had or to give any details about his diagnosis.

Instead, they focused on his legacy.

"His passion for the city of Lewiston was always equaled by his passion for life and his love of his family and friends," Bernier said. "His personality was good-natured, always answering, 'The best, always the best' when asked how he was doing."

Paradis had a 14-year history in Lewiston government, joining the Planning Board in 1997. He served four years on that board, then ran for and won the Ward 6 City Council seat in 2002. He stepped down from the seat in 2007. 

He ran for mayor in 2009, losing to Larry Gilbert, who appointed Paradis to serve on the city's Finance Committee.

"I knew of his dedication to the city," Gilbert said. "He served with distinction, total dedication and from the heart and from his conscience. That's the type of man Mark Paradis was. That's why I still urge people to vote for him."

Former Lewiston City Councilor  and Finance Committee member Stavros Mendros said Paradis was a good colleague.

"We didn't always agree, but he was always a gentleman about it," Mendros said. "He was the rare kind of politician that you could disagree with and still like. And he had a sincere love for the city. That was apparent every time you spoke to him."

Outgoing Ward 7 Councilor Stephen Morgan said he remained a supporter of Paradis.

"I already voted for him," Morgan said.

Paradis and Macdonald were the top two vote-getters in a field of five in November's municipal election, Paradis with 32 percent of the vote and Macdonald with 31 percent. Lewiston rules require the mayor to win by a majority of votes — at least 50 percent, plus one vote. Since neither did, the runoff election was set.

Macdonald could not be reached for comment Friday.

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Mike Lachance's picture

Return of "The Establishment "

The entire "do over" crowd (The Establishment) are now frothing at the mouth... They now have their annointed candidate primed and waiting in the wings for the "go" signal, so the continuation of status-quo of warm-fuzzy feel-good stagnation and decay can continue....

This election (via Macdonald) is a HUGE chance for Lewiston to send a clear message that Enough-is-Enough. I am sick of the same old smiling faces and the same old system of hand-shaing, back patting, shoulder rubbing and favors that have brought this city nothing if not its economic and withering knees.

No, a "do-over" would be just the opposite. It would equate to a "do-same".

Vote Bob Macdonald and get Lewiston moving in the right direction after 20+ years of smiling decay.

Steve  Dosh's picture

Mayoral Candidate Mark Paradis dies

All , 11.12.11 6 pm Hawai'i
i used to help run elections with the U S Peace Corps ( overseas ) and with the U S Dept of State \ the U N ( election observers , like Jimmy Carter in Guatemala , 1 9 8 8 )
" Campaign manager Michael Dumas said he would be at the polls Tuesday representing Paradis . "
^^ That's - r e a l - dedication ^^
Everyone concerned should remain confident that proper procedures will be followed and it will all go okay . These are the U S of A , after all
Such a shame , though
We all feel really badly for everyone involved , especially at this time of year .. /s, the Steve Dosh F S O ( ret.) ohana , Hawai'i


What's good for Lewiston

This truly sad and shocking event actually presents encumbrances to both sides in the upcoming election. I think Lewiston would benefit from a do-over where a clear winner would be shown to have wide popular support. We already have a 30% governor and have seen the divisiveness it produced and I don't think we need a 30% mayor too. It would be sad to see a backward slide caused by gridlock and divisiveness when Lewiston is so well poised for economic development.

Mike Lachance's picture

Claire, we cannot have a 30%

Claire, we cannot have a 30% mayor (and btw, LePage won with 38%, which was more than Baldy got previously)

Since Lewiston's election law requires 50.1% or greater to win the mayor's seat, This election will either be 50.1% or greater for Bob, or 50.1% or greater for Mark.

If Bob wins, he will not be a "31% mayor".

If Mark wins, he it will not be a "32% mayor".

As far as backward sliding goes, I would much prefer Lewiston slide back about 40 years than "progress forward one more day in the direction we have been "progressing". It would be a grand continuation of wasted time, energy and resources.

The Dec 13 election has been transformed now due to the unfortunate and trgic loss of Mr. Paradis. To this end, for many, this will be a vote based on emotions, for others it will be a vote to "do over", and for the rest a vote for true change (Macdonald).

Sure, Bob cant change everything, he cant actually change much *himself*, but he can begin to build a new direction for the city's appraoch to the many issues that have NOT been getting better over the last 10-15 years. That in itself is why many will continue to support Bob and cast their vote for him on Tuesday. Will Macdonald win? Hard to say. At this point I think it could go either way, by a little or a lot. Its anyone's guess.


40 years ago

Well I guess we have to disagree. You see I was here 40 years ago when most of my neighbors were moving to California because there were no jobs here and I watched most of the small businesses along Lisbon st. shut down and the school dept. had a job action and a slew of their experienced teachers quit(good for me though because I got my first job but really bad for the quality of education here for years to come). I spent the afternoon on Lisbon St. today at the Festival and saw for myself the new businesses and the people walking downtown. We should not go back and we should not turn our backs on money saving cooperation with Auburn. I am open to change but to go backwards? No thanks, been there done that.

Mike Lachance's picture

Well, Claire, I too was here

Well, Claire, I too was here 40 years ago. Unemployment was lower, there were an abundance of factory jobs for workers of all levels, taxes were lower, welfare was less a way of life and more of a last resort safety net. Lisbon Street was a bustling commercial center for the entire central Maine region. While crime was still a fact of life, it was much safer to walk around the tree streets after dark than now. Drug dealing was nowhere near as common as today. Community pride was much stronger, cultures were every bit as varied, but those who came to Lewiston did so to work and to become Americans.

Lewiston welcomed those who wished to assimilate to OUR culture and become Americans through-and-through.

Yes, its true that many mistakes were made 40 years ago, but that doesnt mean we must keep repeating those SAME mistakes (which we are doing to this day. Making the same mistakes over and over does not justify them. Oh, to be where we were 40 years ago. Think of the opportunities. Go backwards? that would be a great opportunity.

So what can we do today? Continue with the same mistakes? Or maybe we really SHOULD take a different approach, finally, and tackle the issues that our elected officials have been IGNORING for decades.

 's picture


Vote for Mark Paradis...

Mike Lachance's picture

Vote for Bob Macdonald...

Vote for Bob Macdonald...

 's picture


Lewiston needs to have a do over...

GARY SAVARD's picture

I have known Mark for over 40

I have known Mark for over 40 years. He was always so easy going and likeable. My deepest sympathies to Ronella and the family. With his untimely passing though comes this thinly veiled scramble by Lewiston's entrenched politicos to rework the mayoral election to their every advantage. This begs the question of why are they so afraid Bob Macdonald might actually win the mayoral election?

 's picture

Shameless Performance

Mark Paradis was a gentleman. I last talked to him as we gathered for the debate at the Lewiston Public Library. He was cordial even though he knew that I was supporting Bob Macdonald.

The performance of Bernier and Gilbert at the press conference was sickening. It was within a few hours of Mark's passing, and these two are out there, playing cheap, sleazy politics with Mark's death. I noted that Gilbert took the opportunity to tell the audience who great a job he has done at Mayor. A true narcissist.

We, in the much maligned Macdonald camp, are truly shocked and saddened at Mark's passing. We have pulled ads scheduled to run Monday and Tuesday out of respect for Mark's memory. We tried to change the content of the ads from politics to rememberance, but we were unable to, on Friday afternoon, change words that were scheduled to run on Monday morning, so we just pulled the ad entirely.

What can we do? When the newspaper is playing politics, it is an uphill task all the way.

It's all up to the voters now. God help the city of Lewiston.

DAVE GUDAS's picture

Have to agree

For the first printed announcement of Mr. Paradis passing, the ensuing story lends itself more to exploitation of the event as a rallying cry to force a Mayoral race "do-over", rather than any lamentation or reflection over the loss of one of Lewiston's finest people.

 's picture

A surprise

the death of the democratic candidate was quite a surprise yesterday. However, what it does is drive one more nail into the coffin of the Republican candidate Mr. Macdonald. First the election is held in and area that is totally unsupportive to his views and many of those will walk into Longley to vote against him, but this now adds a sympathy vote to the election which is very difficult to overcome.

The only good thing that may come out of this election if the Democratic candidate wins and the seat is declared vacant is that the polls throught the city will be open in the next election and not one isolated polling place. We would then see the true feelings of the city voters.

Our condolences to Mark Paradis' family is sincere though especially this time of year.

Best of Luck to Mr. Macdonald in his effort as he certain has a steep hill to climb now, and we can only hope that he will run again if the need arises as elections need a clear and varied choice for candidates.


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