AUBURN — City Council newcomer Grady Burns said he thinks residents’ desire for change helped sweep him into office.

“People seem to understand that Auburn’s at a crossroads,” Burns said. “We are facing a shrinking tax base and we need help creating long-term solutions to turn back that trend.”

But a distinctive campaign sign didn’t hurt, either.

“They say that signs don’t vote, but in this situation, they certainly helped me out there,” Burns said.

Burns claimed one of two at-large seats on the Auburn City Council at the polls Tuesday with 1,902 votes. Incumbent David Young, with 1,666, claimed the other open seat.

Burns’ campaign featured distinctive signs sporting an outline of his beard and red hair. It was recognizable, he said, and that helped.

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“At the very least, it was an amazing ice-breaker,” he said. “I think it illustrated that I’m somewhat different — kind of a fresh choice. Certainly when I went door to door, that was one of the first things people would say. They’d say, ‘I know you from the signs!'”

In the City’s Ward 1, Local Attorney Jim Pross defeated Matt Leonard 487 votes to 293.

“I don’t know what to say other than that I’m really grateful the people of Ward 1 are entrusting me with this honor,” Pross said.

With only three open seats challenged, the tenor of Auburn’s next City Council was set long before Tuesday’s vote. Incumbent Leroy Walker had no challengers for his Ward 5 seat and neither did Ward 2 newcomer Robert Stone, Ward 3’s Andrew Titus and Ward 4’s Ernestine “Tina” Gilbert.

Stone received 563 votes for his seat; Titus, 672; Gilbert, 453; and Walker, 681.

That left voters to decide the three seats on the peripheries — Ward 1 and the two at-large seats.

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Roger Anctil of Andrea Lane said he cast his ballot for Leonard because of his involvement at the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce. Leonard took over as executive director in April.

“He’s the one who replaced Chip (Morrison, the most recent head of the chamber), and that’s about all I know about him,” he said. “Usually, people in that job are pretty well-connected.”

John Wyman of Lake Auburn Avenue said he thought Leonard’s job was a conflict of interest. He cast his ballot for Pross.

“But neither one of them approached me,” he said.

In the race for the at-large seats, Wyman said he voted for both incumbents, despite thinking the city needs some new direction.

“Taxes are ridiculous,” he said. “The population of Auburn is getting old and our income is not going up. So they need to do something about it.”

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2015 Election Coverage

  • Complete coverage of local and statewide election results.

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