Lewiston mayor-elect changes angry tone

LEWISTON — Mayor-elect Bob Macdonald on Wednesday backed off his election night comments, saying a surprise set for Thursday afternoon is now designed to smooth any feathers he might have ruffled.

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Lewiston Mayor-elect Bob Macdonald talks with fellow U.S. Marine Damian Dunlay of Lewiston at McDonald's on Lisbon Street on Wednesday. Macdonald served in Vietnam. Lance Cpl. Dunlay is stationed in Okinawa. Go to sunjournal.com/macdonald121511 for video of Macdonald and his friends.

"As far as I'm concerned, the election is over," Macdonald said. "What happened happened and it's ancient history, so I'm not going to dwell on it. I just want to go forward."

Macdonald said Tuesday night that he had a surprise — to be announced Thursday — for members of opponent Mark Paradis' campaign staff and volunteers. Macdonald said he didn't blame Paradis, who died Friday before the special runoff election, but Paradis' supporters had spread rumors about Macdonald's family, he said.

Michael Dumas, campaign manager for Paradis, said he did not know where any such rumors originated.

"I was very upset to hear the claim that someone had started a rumor about his wife's health, and if I would have heard anything like that," Dumas said. "The person who started any rumor would have been removed from the campaign."

Macdonald said Wednesday he wanted to back off the comments he made Tuesday night. He didn't disavow them or say they were wrong, but he said he wanted to change his tone.

"If I said it, I don't feel bad, but I just betrayed myself in a way," Macdonald said. "What I'm going to do now is just stay focused."

Macdonald said he hoped to unveil his surprise idea at 2 p.m. at Lewiston City Hall. He hoped it would be seen as a positive thing, aimed at moving the city in a better direction.

"It'll be a conciliatory thing," Macdonald said. "I want to work with everybody here. Fighting amongst ourselves does not make anything. I'm going to propose something tomorrow, a conciliatory thing, and let people know just where I stand, so they have a better understanding of me."

Paradis and Macdonald claimed the most votes of five candidates at the Nov. 8 municipal election, but neither man collected more than 32 percent of the total vote. The City Charter requires the mayor to get a majority of the vote to win election — at least 50 percent, plus one vote. Since neither did, the runoff election was scheduled.

Paradis announced on Dec. 7 that he had been diagnosed with cancer and had started radiation treatment but vowed to continue his campaign. Paradis died two days later, on Friday morning. His friends, family and supporters encouraged voters to select him, anyway. A Paradis win would have made the seat vacant and the city would have had to schedule a new mayoral election.

Macdonald narrowly won the runoff, claiming 2,543 votes to Paradis' 2,473. Afterward, Macdonald told reporters that Paradis volunteers had started a rumor that Macdonald's wife was sick. Macdonald said that made him angry.

Now, Macdonald said, he wants to change the tone of local politics.

He said he'd had a busy Wednesday, talking with incoming city councilors. He also talked with Ronella Paradis, the widow of his opponent.

It's important to unite the city now, Macdonald said.

"This is not a 'me' situation; it's a 'we' situation," Macdonald said. "I have some suggestions about what we can do, but now I need to get the city behind me. We are going to change the city. We'll be looking to make some changes, but I don't want to start climbing that hill and look around and see no one behind me."

Dumas, Paradis' campaign manager, wished Macdonald good luck.

"This campaign was about different philosophies for dealing with the issues," Dumas said. "There was a difference of opinion between the two men. But, in the end, people chose him and his view. Now it's time for him to lead."

staylor@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Michael Hobbs's picture

If he was smart and wanted to

If he was smart and wanted to help change this community he would start by listening to the younger generation, especially that of the young professionals. I have nothing against the older generations, but you aren't going to change anything unless you start looking to the future instead of reminiscing of what Lewiston was in the past. All I have heard from him was Franco-Americans and talk of the mills. Well Lewiston doesn't have a super majority of Francos anymore and we defiantly don't have the mills that they worked in. These people he likes to refer to are his citizens and are part of the future of this city. While it is nice being on the AARP list for retirees, that isn't going to help bring or keep young professionals in the area. How about he skips a couple of those coffee shops and take a little tour through USM L/A, Bates College, Andover and Central Maine Community College and talk to those individuals. That's just my humble opinion.

Dave Bussey's picture

Surprise

Surprise? No surprise. Example no.1 of hizzoner's single minded conviction and level headed, even-handed approach to government. What?

Changes

Bob needs to go on a diet, before he has a heart attack...
Good luck Lewiston...You are gooing to need it...

Jim Cyr's picture

Lose the angry tones

and maintain the " high road " and we will all prosper in a new direction .

 's picture

unfortunately, you only get

unfortunately, you only get one chance to make a first impression. That's what people from outside the city will remember no matter what he does.

Jason Theriault's picture

Damn!

I was hoping for some sort of super overreaction, mostly because I live in Auburn and it would be fun to watch a Supervillian be mayor.

All kidding aside, I could understand getting ticked about someone starting rumors about ones wife.

Shane Morin's picture

It's refreshing to see he has

It's refreshing to see he has changed his tone, at least for now. He obviously has a lot to learn about how to handle himself in the spotlight. I hope he is able to learn quickly, for the sake of our city. The Bob Macdonald I knew as a kid when he was on the police force was a friendly guy who was good at interacting with kids. The Bob Macdonald I've seen so far has only seemed brash and bitter. If he puts that behind him and brings out the kind of guy I saw as a kid and the kind of guy his supporters are confident he is, he will have an easier time over the next two years, and the people of Lewiston will be much more likely to be open to what he has to say.

We'll see what he has in mind tomorrow afternoon..

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