Jeff Harmon, center in blue, hugs his wife, Lisa, on Tuesday night while surrounded by supporters at Gipper’s Sports Grill in Auburn after receiving unofficial word that he defeated Jason Levesque and will become the new mayor of Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Regardless of who wins Lewiston’s mayoral runoff in December between Carl Sheline and Jon Connor, the City Council will look markedly different in 2024.

The same can be said for the Auburn City Council, which following Tuesday’s election will see three new councilors and a new mayor sworn in next month after Jeff Harmon soundly defeated the three-term incumbent Jason Levesque.

On Wednesday, as the various campaigns were assessing the Election Day results, one thing was clear: voters wanted change in the ranks of elected officials in Lewiston and Auburn.

Perhaps the most striking of the results was the ouster of all three councilors in contested races in Lewiston, meaning Bob McCarthy, Rick LaChapelle and Lee Clement will not serve in 2024. All three had recently supported removing Councilor Linda Scott as council president and censuring Councilor Scott Harriman after the pair criticized the councilors for meeting outside the council chambers at a local bar.

But that was just the most recent in a long line of disagreements on the council that often led to inaction.

Susan Longchamps, who easily defeated McCarthy in Ward 2 with 62% of the vote, believes it had become obvious to voters over the past few months that the council was fractured.


“It was quite evident to the community that it was divided, and if you’re a group of people who are supposed to be making decisions for the betterment of the city and you’re divided, what are you accomplishing?” she asked. “I think that really played a big part of it, and they unfortunately did that to themselves.”

Longchamps will join newcomers Michael Roy, who defeated LaChapelle, and David Chittim, who defeated Clement, along with Eryn Soule-Leclair, who won a close race for the Ward 4 seat against Billie Jayne Cooke. Josh Nagine, another newcomer, was unopposed for Linda Scott’s Ward 1 seat, while Harriman was unopposed for Ward 3. Tim Gallant was also unopposed in Ward 7.

Longchamps, the owner of Webb’s Market, said she’s hopeful for the new term despite the question mark of who will be mayor. She said she doesn’t personally know the other new councilors, but is confident the city can move “in a better direction.”

“It really came down to some folks really not liking each other and in return, not being willing to compromise on anything,” she said. “And that doesn’t bring us to where we need to be to make decisions.”

However, she said she’s had productive conversations with McCarthy. The pair spoke for hours at the polls Tuesday, and she hopes to continue to seek out his knowledge and advice.

Soule-Leclair said Wednesday that she’s “extremely excited and honored to be a part the (Lewiston City Council) team.”


“We have a lot of work ahead of us and I look forward to working with and for the people of Lewiston,” she said.


For Lewiston residents, the mayoral runoff Dec. 12 will feel familiar. The city holds a runoff election between the top two candidates if neither candidate receives a clear majority of 50% plus at least one vote. Sheline received the most votes Tuesday, with 3,624 votes, or 45%, compared to 3,041 votes for Connor.

Sheline said Wednesday that his campaign is formulating its runoff election strategy now, and he’s “looking forward to the last few weeks of campaigning and the runoff in December.”

“We need to keep the focus on growing our economy, building housing, and promoting our great city of Lewiston,” he said.

Asked about Tuesday’s City Council results, Sheline said he’s not surprised.


“Voters value trust and transparency,” he said.

Connor said Wednesday that his campaign is also working on its plan for the next few weeks leading up to the runoff, and he plans to continue the campaign’s message of “reducing crime, addressing the mental health and addiction crisis here in Lewiston, as well as getting our infrastructure fixed.”

Connor said he spoke with a lot of people who have honed in on his goal of increasing mental health services in Lewiston, especially in the wake of the Oct. 25 mass shooting.

“That was a really strong point with a lot of voters, that we can’t put our heads in the sand and we need to address it,” he said. He said he envisions a state-funded mental health facility in Lewiston.

Lewiston mayoral candidate Jon Connor, right, shares a laugh Tuesday night with supporters Patti Gagne and Steve Bannister outside Marco’s Restaurant where he and his supporters were waiting for election returns. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal


In Auburn, voters made it clear Tuesday that they wanted a change in mayor after the campaign became a referendum on the city’s current trajectory on housing development and zoning.


Jeff Harmon, a former deputy chief of the Maine State Police, won easily Tuesday with a tally of 3,768 to 2,335.

Despite the opposition calling his campaign a NIMBY response to Levesque’s focus on new housing, Harmon said Wednesday that his campaign was about creating “a more transparent, collaborative approach to governing” in Auburn.

“I’m not opposed to development, I think we need a different process to address these challenges,” he said.

He said the approach the current council has taken to rezoning has been the biggest issue among voters. Levesque has argued that the changes have given greater flexibility to property owners while starting to address the housing crisis.

“I’ve said all along that this sort of one-size-fits-all residential zoning throughout the city is not going to accomplish the outcomes that we want and is not going to get community support,” Harmon said Wednesday. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t need to work on creating additional housing opportunities in the city.”

Harmon said Auburn needs a variety of housing types, “not just high-end market-rate apartments.”


Asked if there are things he wants to focus on right away, Harmon said, “I don’t think the election changes the challenges that Auburn is facing. But, we’re going to approach those challenges in a different way.”

He said issues he heard “over and over” while campaigning were around protecting the water quality of Lake Auburn, making sure Auburn has an effective curbside recycling program, and more housing opportunities of a greater variety.

Harmon has been involved in several citizen groups, including Protect Lake Auburn, which believes the city is forwarding policies that will be harmful to Lake Auburn water quality by increasing development near the watershed.

However, Levesque and city staff over the past few months have said the changes being pursued — an updated septic design standard, zoning that will decrease allowed density, and a new conservative watershed boundary — are all recommendations that have been vetted by the state and agreed upon by a committee made up of representatives from Lewiston and Auburn.

The City Council has set a schedule where the package of ordinances are set to be adopted Dec. 4, which is the last meeting of the current council.

Asked if he plans to pursue any changes to those proposals, Harmon said there are “a number of unanswered concerns about those changes,” but that it will depend on the next few meetings.


“We will have to see how that process plays out,” he said.

The City Council will have a new look in 2024, with newcomers Tim Cowan, Benjamin Weisner and Adam Platz joining incumbents Rick Whiting, Steve Milks, Leroy Walker and Belinda Gerry.

On Wednesday, Levesque said Tuesday’s election was “a referendum for no growth.”

“The voters made themselves very clear that they are scared of change and scared of growth,” he said. “I hope the residents of Auburn make their voices heard, and take a step back and look at the positives of the last six years — the new growth, the new high school, the increase in median income, the national recognition of our zoning efforts.”

Asked what possibly went wrong, he said a friend told him that he perhaps “campaigned for the people who want to live in Auburn, not for the people who live in Auburn.”

“That very well might be true,” he said. “I’ve been promoting Auburn with great success. For the first time in 60 years we had a population bump. And the sky did not crash down around us.”

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