This story was updated on July 29.

Nomination papers for the November election became available July 8 in Lewiston and Auburn, marking the unofficial start to the local campaign season.

In both cities, elections for all municipal seats for mayor, City Council and School Committee are held on a two-year cycle, with new terms beginning Jan. 6, 2020.

The Sun Journal reached out to both mayors and all 14 city councilors in both cities to see who is running for re-election, and looked at who took out nomination papers Monday. In Lewiston, nomination papers are due back by Sept. 6. In Auburn, the deadline is Aug. 22.

LEWISTON MAYOR

The mayor’s race in Lewiston comes on the heels of controversy earlier this year, when former Mayor Shane Bouchard resigned following the release of texts that showed racist and sexist comments.

Since then, former Ward 5 Councilor Kristen Cloutier has been serving as mayor, but Cloutier confirmed to the Sun Journal this week that she will not seek re-election for either mayor or the Ward 5 council seat. Cloutier also serves in the Maine Legislature.

As of Tuesday, that sets up a race between two former councilors, Tim Lajoie and Mark Cayer, and frequent candidate Charles Soule.

Lajoie announced his candidacy in March, saying he had had “high hopes” for Bouchard as mayor but was let down “by a lack of leadership.”

Cayer, the current School Committee chairman and former council president, announced in April. He said he had not planned to run, but he was inspired by the “political division” growing in Lewiston.

LEWISTON COUNCIL

The Lewiston City Council could potentially see a high turnover this fall, with seats that are contested and some that will be vacated by longtime councilors.

Ward 1: Longtime councilor and former Lewiston Planning Director Jim Lysen will not seek re-election, and will support newcomer candidate Safiya Khalid.

Khalid, whose family emigrated from Somalia a decade ago, graduated from Lewiston High School and ran unsuccessfully for School Committee two years ago. Lysen said he plans to help Khalid campaign and that he’s hopeful Khalid can provide representation to the city’s New Mainers population.

Khalid has worked as a field organizer for the Maine Democratic Party in Lewiston and has been the clerk for the Labor and Housing Committee in the Legislature.

Also running for the Ward 1 seat is Linda Scott, a former three-term member of the School Committee. In a social media announcement Monday, she said she has the experience to make tough choices on budgets and municipal contracts.

Ward 2: Councilor Zack Pettengill is running for re-election. He was elected in 2017.

Update, July 24: Donna Gillespie also took out nomination papers for Ward 2 on July 19. Gillespie, a retired DHHS caseworker, also ran for the seat in 2017.

Ward 3: Councilor Alicia Rea is running for re-election. She was elected in 2017. In a news release Monday, Rea said, “We’ve made important progress as a city these last two years. I want to continue working to grow Lewiston’s economy, improve our schools, and create a community where everyone feels welcome.”

Rea also serves as the council’s representative on the School Committee. So far, no other candidate has taken out nomination papers to run.

Ward 4: Councilor Michel Lajoie, a former longtime fire chief in Lewiston, is running for re-election. He was elected in 2017.

Update, July 24: Benjamin Martin, a current Planning Board member and former School Committee member, took out nomination papers in Ward 4 on July 16.

Ward 5: The Ward 5 seat was left vacant when Cloutier was sworn in as mayor following Bouchard’s resignation.

Update, July 24: School Committee member Luke Jensen and Finance Committee member Denis Theriault have both taken out nomination papers to run for the Ward 5 seat.

Ward 6: This ward will see a new face, as Councilor Joline Landry Beam said she is not running for re-election. In an email Monday, Beam said she wants to “spend more time with my children and grandchildren, most of whom live out of state.”

“I enjoyed representing the residents of Ward 6 on the City Council and working with the citizens of Lewiston, my fellow councilors, and the city staff,” she said. “Lewiston has a promising future, and despite my decision not to run, I hope to have a chance to contribute in other ways than serving in elective office.”

Nomination papers for the Ward 6 seat were retrieved Monday by David Chittim and Lee Clement. Chittim is the director of the Androscoggin Historical Society.

Update, July 24: Also taking out nomination papers for the Ward 6 seat was Mjae Langley. According to her Facebook page, Langley owns Tiny Toes preschool and is a fitness coach.

Ward 7: Councilor Michael Marcotte is running for re-election. He was elected in 2017.

Update, July 24: Stephanie Gelinas has also pulled papers to run in Ward 7. According to a 2017 Sun Journal story, Gelinas is the founder and executive director of Sandcastle Clinical and Educational Services and LA Hearing Center in Lewiston.

Update, July 29: Jonathan Connor took out papers for Ward 7 on July 26. Connor is listed as the managing member of Crg Logistics Solutions, a Lewiston-based business.

AUBURN MAYOR

Update, July 24: In Auburn, the mayor’s race is no longer uncontested.

Stanwood “Joe” Gray are is now listed as having taken out nomination papers to run against Mayor Jason Levesque. Gray, a farmer, is also a former city councilor and School Committee candidate. Brad Farrell was also temporarily listed as having taken out papers for mayor, but Farrell said he’s actually running for City Council at-large.

Levesque threw a re-election event July 9 at Gritty’s in Auburn.

He appeared on WGAN radio the same day to talk about his first term and re-election effort. Asked what he’s accomplished, Levesque said he’s brought “local sanity back to Auburn.”

“We’ve kept taxes extremely low, well below the level of inflation,” he said during the interview. “We’ve really looked at what we’re spending money on, how to invest money as a city to increase the quality of life, but also provide some return on investment, providing some business practices, some best practices, if you would, to city government, and it’s paying off.”

Adam Lee, the former councilor and mayoral candidate who lost to Levesque in 2017 by just 12 votes, has said he is not running.

AUBURN COUNCIL 

Ward 1: Councilor Holly Lasagna is seeking re-election. She was elected in 2017.

Update, July 24: Michael Farrell has also taken out nomination papers for the Ward 1 seat.

Ward 2: Councilor Bob Hayes is seeking re-election to a second consecutive term in Ward 2, but he will have competition from Matt Leonard, the former president of the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

After he resigned from the position, Leonard started a company called Military Talent Source, which places veterans in the workforce. A U.S. Navy veteran, he also worked closely with the Coalition Opposed to Lewiston-Auburn Consolidation campaign in 2017.

Later on Tuesday, Timothy Mcleod also took out papers for Ward 2.

Update, July 24: Linda Wooten has also taken out papers for Ward 2.

Ward 3: Two-term Councilor Andrew Titus issued a statement late last week announcing that he will not run for re-election.

“It has truly been an honor serving the people of Auburn, and especially the citizens of Ward 3,” he said. “I have served two terms and feel that it is time for someone else to step in. Having new ideas and thoughts is important to our city and I wish any and all who run the best.”

Update, July 24: Stephen Milks is no longer the only candidate to take out nomination papers in Ward 3. Milks, a managing partner of Thompson Properties, has served on Levesque’s committee on economic development and marketing.

Joining him in the race for Titus’ seat are Daniel Herrick and V. Dale Kazanjian. Herrick is a former city councilor and Auburn farmer.

Ward 4: Councilor Alfreda Fournier said Monday that she hadn’t decided whether to run for re-election.

Ward 4 residents Brian Carrier and Rhyanna Larose have taken out nomination papers. Carrier is a member of the Auburn Planning Board and a former candidate for Maine House District 63. Larose is a member of the Auburn Conservation Commission.

Ward 5: Leroy Walker is running for re-election, which represents the New Auburn neighborhood. He said he planned to attend Levesque’s re-election event Tuesday. So far, no one else has taken out papers.

At large: Auburn has two at-large seats, with candidates already vying for them. Longtime at-large Councilor David Young and veteran at-large Councilor Belinda Gerry, are both seeking re-election.

Also vying for the at-large seats are Katherine Boss, Carl Dill and Brad Farrell. Leonard and Larose, who pulled papers in Ward 4, also took out papers for the at-large seats.

Boss is the health promotion manager at Healthy Androscoggin, chairwoman of the Good Food Council of Lewiston-Auburn and a member of the Auburn Planning Board. According to his LinkedIn account, Dill is a production operator at Nestle Waters.


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