AUBURN — Democratic voters Tuesday decided to stick with state Rep. Gina Melaragno in a Maine House District 62 primary races that pitted the first-term lawmaker against former Rep. Brian Bolduc.

But Melaragno’s message of improving the economy for all Mainers with a focus on poverty, health care and climate change seemed to win Democrats over.

She overwhelmingly dispatched Bolduc, winning 249 votes to his 43.

Voter Matt Logue of Ward 1 summed up Melaragno’s appeal among left-leaning voters, saying he picked Melaragno because of her support for progressive issues, especially her pro-choice stance and support for increasing the state’s minimum wage.

“She’s like a very local version of Bernie Sanders,” Logue said.

Melaragno will face Republican challenger Brandon Dickey in November.


Democrats also selected Bettyann Sheats, a local small-business owner, West Point graduate and former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, over retiring Edward Little High School teacher Candy Gleason in the city’s House District 64 primary. Sheats won, 261-151.

Sheats has previously run for the House against Republicans twice before unsuccessfully. She will now launch her third campaign for the seat against incumbent Republican Rep. David Sawicki.

The district includes all of the New Auburn neighborhood and parts of the city’s downtown.

Meanwhile, Republicans in Sabattus and Greene also stuck with an incumbent in House District 57 and selected Rep. Steve Wood of Greene to be their party’s candidate in November against Democratic challenger Nicholas Gayton.

Wood, winning with 219 votes, was selected over Republican challenger Gerard “Jerry” Tardif, who picked up just 39 votes in the two-town primary.

“I want to thank the people who came out to vote for me today and hope they will also vote for me in November,” Wood said Tuesday. “It’s a real pleasure serving the people of Greene and Sabattus as their state representative in Augusta.”


Melaragno and Wood were among only few House incumbents facing challengers.

In Lewiston, Democrats also selected Roger Fuller over Melissa May Stevens for the House District 59 seat that’s being left vacant by longtime Rep. Peggy Rotundo, who served the maximum number of four terms.

Fuller won 457 votes to Stevens’ 299 in the four wards in the district.

Fuller, a retired teacher and principal, said he wanted to give back to the community.

“I have grown and benefited from the opportunities offered here in Maine, and I believe it is time to give back to the community and create pathways and opportunities for a new generation of Maine residents,” Fuller said in response to pre-election survey by the Sun Journal.

He will face Republican Elliot Chicoine in the fall election.

Sun Journal Staff Writer Scott Taylor contributed to this report.

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