LEWISTON — The Republican candidate for Maine House District 95 has previously said on social media that “Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office.”

Mana Abdi Submitted photo

His opponent in November is Democrat Mana Abdi, who would become the first Somali American member of the state Legislature, if she wins. She is Muslim.

Fred Sanborn-Silvers posted the comment on his Facebook page in September 2020.

Both are political newcomers vying for a renumbered and slightly redrawn district that spans a swath of Lewiston cutting east and south from Kennedy Park. It has been represented by Democrat Heidi Brooks since 2014; Brooks could not seek reelection due to term limits.

Sanborn-Silvers, a Massachusetts native who unsuccessfully sought elected office in Auburn a few times decades ago when he was known as Fred Sanborn, has sometimes used social media to champion former President Donald Trump, gay rights, the police and better treatment of animals.

But since the 2016 presidential election, he’s mostly used it to bash Democratic leaders, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Maine Gov. Janet Mills and President Joe Biden. Much of his focus has been on women politicians, and he’s also used his page to denounce the Black Lives Matter movement.


Sanborn-Silvers accused Democrats of “trying to pull off the biggest fraud in history” by tapping Harris for vice president when the California Democrat “ain’t African-American.”

“Kamala Harris is only black by injection,” he wrote on Oct. 7, 2020. “She is real scary.”

Harris, 57, is the daughter of an Indian immigrant mother and a Jamaican immigrant father with African heritage.

Fred Sanborn-Silvers

In June 2020, Sanborn-Silvers blasted the Black Lives Matter protests, suggesting that it was time to bring out the tanks to stop the rioting.

“While we’re at it,” he added, they should also surround the Blaine House in Augusta, where the governor lives.

On June 10, 2020, Sanborn-Silvers said the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police “had nothing to do with police brutality.”


Four officers have since been convicted for their role in the murder, including Derek Chauvin, the officer most responsible, who is serving a 22½-year prison sentence in Minnesota.

Sanborn-Silvers has also posted repeatedly that Trump won the 2020 presidential race and insisted, with no evidence, that Biden and running mate Kamala Harris had stolen the election “plain and simple.”

When Biden and Harris were inaugurated last year, he dismissed the “extremely sad” event as “a freak show” featuring “a demented old man and a hooker.”

According to his campaign announcement in January, Sanborn-Silvers is a founding member and former treasurer of New Beginnings in Lewiston, and is a member of High Street Congregational Church in Auburn, where he has served as clerk, deacon and as a member of the church council.

He said he’s running to address the mental health, substance abuse and homelessness crisis facing the community. He’s employed by SeniorsPlus in the nutrition department, and lives in Lewiston with his husband, Peter Sanborn-Silvers.

Sanborn-Silvers did not respond to several requests for comment for this story.


Abdi, 26, was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and grew up in Lewiston. She went to Lewiston Middle School and Lewiston High School, where she ran varsity track.

A graduate of the University of Maine at Farmington, Abdi works as a program coordinator at the Bates College Office of Intercultural Education. She previously worked for Disability Rights Maine and the Androscoggin County District Attorney’s Office.

Reached this week, Abdi said she’s focused on speaking with constituents “and better understanding the issues and needs of my district.”

Asked about the previous comments from Sanborn-Silvers, Abdi said, “I believe everyone who seeks to serve in public office should read and understand the United States Constitution. If my opponent did that, he would know that Article VI says that ‘no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.’ I am looking forward to representing all my future constituents, of every faith and none, in the Maine House.”

Abdi has used her Facebook page to promote her campaign and highlight events and other progressive causes.

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