LEWISTON — Heading into the only mayoral debate on Monday, the five candidates vying for the position said they would serve as mayor regardless of the outcome of the merger referendum.

The comments come on the heels of Auburn mayoral candidate Jason Levesque’s response to a question during a Sun Journal debate Wednesday, when he said that if he were elected Nov. 7 and the L-A merger was approved, he’d give up his seat. 

When first asked, Levesque said that as mayor he’d fight against its implementation, then changed tack and said he simply wouldn’t serve. 

“I would not serve as mayor of a dying city. I couldn’t do it,” he said. 

On Thursday, while discussing their individual campaigns and the push toward Election Day, the candidates in Lewiston said they would not relinquish the mayor’s office if the merger passed. 

Those candidates include two who have either been involved with the anti-merger campaign or have taken clear stances on the issue: Ron Potvin and Shane Bouchard.

Bouchard said Thursday that while campaigning, he’s noticed that at most doors, “it’s all about the merger.” 

He said that while he’s confident the initiative won’t pass, he’d work with the decision if it did. 

“If the people of Lewiston and Auburn decided they wanted to become one city, even though I’m against it, if it passes, it’s over,” he said. “Now it’s my job to make it as good as it possibly can be.” 

He continued, “No way would I go that far. We do what the people elect us to do. That’s our job. It would be the best damn merged city you ever saw if I was one of the mayors working on it.” 

Potvin, co-chairman of the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation, said he believes Levesque’s comment stems from the heightened passion in Auburn over the merger. 

He said he understands why a candidate in Auburn might say that.

“Right now, there’s a sentiment in Auburn that this is a purposeful takeover by Lewiston, which has raised the ire a little more, and Jason reflects it,” he said. 

But, Potvin said, if he’s elected mayor, he’d want to stay onboard to make sure the potential negative impacts of a merger were lessened. 

“If the people chose to do this, a lot could go very, very wrong and it’s an important position,” he said of the mayor’s role. 

Candidate Ben Chin, who recently told supporters that he would not be voting in favor of the merger, said, “My feeling is you have to respect the will of the voters no matter what it is, and put your big-boy pants on and find a way to move forward.” 

Chin has worked closely on previous referendum campaigns for raising the minimum wage and other initiatives. 

“I’m a real believer in the referendum process,” he said. “When the people speak, you have to listen, even if you don’t like what they have to say.” 

Mark Cayer has not taken a formal position on the merger, but he said Friday that he “would do absolutely the will of the voters.”

“I feel like voters should be excited that it’s been taken out of the politicians’ hands and provided to them to make a decision,” he said. 

Candidate Charles Soule said that after so many years of running for mayor, he’s “obsessed with obtaining my last punch-list goal” of winning the election. 

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The Lewiston mayoral debate is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 23, at the Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St. 

Shane Bouchard 

Mark Cayer 

Ben Chin

Ron Potvin

Charles Soule 


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