LEWISTON — Voting in a runoff election between Mayor Robert Macdonald and challenger Ben Chin should begin Friday, when absentee ballots become available at City Hall.

City councilors on Wednesday voted to set the election on Dec. 8 and to set the single polling place at Longley Elementary School.

City Clerk Kathy Montejo said absentee ballots could be picked up at the city clerk’s office. She said residents could request the absentee ballots until Dec. 3, according to state rules.

Chin had the most votes of five mayoral candidates Tuesday — 3,673 of 8,332 votes cast, giving him 44 percent of the total.

Macdonald was a close second, trailing by 566 votes. He had 3,107 votes and 37 percent of the vote.

Former City Council President Steve Morgan was a distant third with 1,276 votes and 15 percent of the total.


Morgan said Wednesday he was pledging his support to Macdonald and urging his supporters to vote for the incumbent mayor.

“He and I believe in a lot of the same stuff,” Morgan said. “I think welfare is an issue that needs to be dealt with. He’s focused on it — I think a little tunnel-visioned. I think we need to bring business in and he agrees.”

Morgan pledged to help whomever wins the mayor’s seat to bring new business to the community.

Montejo said the runoff is considered a special election according to the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. That means all of the financial guidelines — filing dates and maximum donation amounts — reset for the Dec. 8 vote.

“We went through this all four years ago,” Montejo said, “but there was not the level of finances that we are possibly talking about here.”

Candidate Chin raised more than $63,000 for the general municipal election, according to his Oct. 23 financial report. That far outpaced all of his mayoral rivals.


Because the Dec. 8 vote is a new election, both candidates will have to file financial reports by Nov. 27, 11 days before the vote.

State finance rules allow donors to give campaigns up to $775, and that will reset as well.

“So the people who have donated the maximum for Nov. 3 can do so again for Dec. 8,” Montejo said. “It is considered a separate, freestanding election.”

Chin, Macdonald and all of the Nov. 3 candidates will have to file their final campaign finance reports for that vote with the clerk’s office by Dec. 15.


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