LEWISTON — The city clerk has ruled that Dane Morgan’s candidacy for Ward 1 City Council is valid.

The ruling comes after Ward 1 resident Maura Murphy used an obscure charter provision to object to Morgan’s nomination papers, arguing that Morgan does not live at the Ward 1 address listed on his paperwork. An administrative hearing was held Sept. 16, during which the two parties made their cases, producing evidence and witnesses.

In the ruling issued Friday, City Clerk Kathy Montejo said, “the objecting party has not met her burden of providing sufficient evidence to invalidate the nomination petition” of Morgan, and that Morgan’s candidacy is, “hereby determined to be regular and valid.”

In a Facebook post following the decision, Morgan said, “Glad to see that the City of Lewiston has made a decision consistent with the facts and truth. But let’s also not forget this moment, Lewiston. The depths to which some will go to keep the status quo is an eye opener. Change isn’t easy. Change is necessary.”

Murphy’s objection questioned Morgan’s official residence, which is listed as 174 Holland St. on an affidavit of residency, but had been listed as a Webster Street address in recent arrest records. Webster Street is in Ward 5.

During last week’s hearing, Murphy said she holds no animosity toward Morgan, but believed she had a civic duty to ensure the Ward 1 council member lives in the district.

Morgan, who is Black, has said Murphy has used racist rhetoric “to stop inclusion and equity in our city.”

During the hearing, he said he moved out of the Webster Street house last fall, after a breakup, and moved to 174 Holland St., where he has lived ever since. Morgan provided utility bill records, a video walkthrough of the Holland Street residence as well as witness testimony from a neighbor.

Murphy’s evidence included several documents related to Morgan’s recent arrest, which listed the Webster Street address. In her objection filing to the clerk, Murphy claimed that there has been more than one incidence of a “candidate residence ‘shell game'” in Ward 1.

Morgan said during the hearing that when police arrested him last month for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend in a dispute over a car safety seat, they mistakenly listed her address as his own, an error repeated by jail, bail, court and other officials as they prepared paperwork based on the initial arrest record.

The City Charter stipulates that candidates must be eligible to vote in their respective ward at least three months prior to filing nomination papers.

In her ruling, Montejo said that after reviewing all the evidence, Morgan offered “satisfactory proof, which Ms. Murphy has not adequately rebutted, that his residence was in Ward 1 between June 4 and Sept. 3, 2021.”

Morgan will run against former School Committee Chairwoman Linda Scott for the Ward 1 seat in the Nov. 2 municipal election. Morgan previously served on Mayor Mark Cayer’s ad hoc committee on equity and diversity.

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