LEWISTON — Don’t mistake his casual attitude about campaigning for indifference, Mayor Robert Macdonald said Friday.

“Don’t think it’s because I don’t care if I win,” Macdonald said, five days before a runoff ballot between himself and challenger Ben Chin. “I do care. I ran because I care, and I’m running to win, but I don’t see the point in having a stroke over it.”

The retired Macdonald said he has nothing campaign-related scheduled for the weekend or next week. He might not even be in town Tuesday night when the votes are tallied.

“I play Santa Claus, my wife and I do this, and we have a couple of gigs scheduled out of town this weekend,” he said. “But I’ll be around, and I’ll be talking to people and getting out. So don’t mistake my casualness with not wanting to win.”

His opponent’s campaign has been anything but casual. Chin, political director for the Maine People’s Alliance, has collected $90,800 for his campaign since he started in March — much more than Macdonald’s $4,245 and more than all of the candidates for all of the open seats in both Lewiston and Auburn; $54,000 of that came from inside Maine and $10,116 came from Lewiston.

But money is only part of the deal. Chin has a bona fide campaign, with volunteers knocking on doors, passing out information and calling voters to urge them out to the polls. His campaign budget has let him buy targeted ads on Facebook and rent a predictive phone dialer to make robocalls to Lewiston voters.


Chin and his supporters held their last rally before Election Day on Thursday morning at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers local headquarters on Goddard Road. Sixty people gathered to sing, chant and cheer — and they broke off into groups to scour the city, encouraging people to get out and vote.

“This has been a great excuse for us to get out and reach out to all the voters that I was not able to talk to the last time around,” Chin said after Thursday’s rally. “The product of that is what you saw here today: an incredible spectrum of support.”

It was just one of several events the Chin campaign has hosted since it kicked off in March. He’s released a campaign platform in the form of a five-step plan and has hosted a rally against landlords he considers slumlords.

He’s picked up plenty of support, including four of the seven city councilors elected Nov. 3 and former U.S. Sen. Majority Leader George Mitchell.

“When I started the campaign, most people didn’t think I had prayer,” Chin said. “For this campaign to have any shot at success, we knew we had to do every single thing right. We had to knock on all the doors. We had to raise all the money. We had to get the right endorsements and we had to work with city councilors and we had to listen to every constituency we could.”

Macdonald, on the other hand, said he didn’t need a campaign to be known. Mayor for two two-year terms, he said if you don’t know what he stands for, you have not been paying attention.

“I’ve sat up there and I’ve done what I thought was right,” he said. “If people agree and they like what I did, they’ll re-elect me. If they don’t and they want change, they’ll elect him. It’s up to them.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.