August 21, 2013

Four to run for two open seats on Augusta City Council

By Keith Edwards
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A four-way race for two at-large seats on the City Council tops the November local election ballot.

click image to enlarge

Cecil Munson

Contributed photo

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Dale McCormick

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Nov. 5 election in Augusta:

Poll hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Polling locations:

Ward 1: Augusta State Armory, 179 Western Ave.

Ward 2: City Center, 16 Cony St.

Ward 3: Civic Center, 76 Community Drive

Ward 4: Cony High School, 60 Pierce Drive

Four candidates filed nomination papers for the two at-large seats up for election Nov. 5 by the Tuesday evening deadline.

Incumbent Councilor Cecil Munson; former councilor Mary Mayo-Wescott; former state senator, treasurer and head of the Maine State Housing Authority Dale McCormick; and relative political newcomer Tom Connors all are seeking election to the at-large seats. The top two vote-getters get the spots.

Councilor Daniel Emery current holds one of the at-large council seats but said he does not plan to seek reelection.

The four-way race will be the only officially contested local race in Augusta.

A contested race for Ward 1 Board of Education was scuttled when one of the two potential candidates, Mike Hein, was deemed not to be qualified for the ballot because many of his signatures were declared invalid.

Deputy City Clerk Tina Charest said Hein turned in enough signatures to qualify, but a lot of those signatures couldn’t be counted because they were from residents who didn’t live in Ward 1 or weren’t registered voters.

Hein said he submitted 76 signatures, which is more than the 50 needed, but about 17 of those were from Ward 2 residents and about the same number were not registered to vote or were from Ward 3. As a result, he said, he ended up with only 40 signatures.

Hein said the problem hinged on his mistaken understanding of the Ward 1 southern boundary, which led him to collect signatures on streets that are in Ward 2.

“The wording in the City Charter about the ward boundaries is unnecessarily vague, I believe,” Hein said Wednesday. “Anyway, it was an honest mistake.”

Hein said he will not file as a write-in candidate to challenge Jennifer Day, who successfully qualified to run for the Ward 1 Board of Education seat.

Last year Hein pleaded guilty to violating the Maine Clean Election Act and was sentenced to seven days in jail for attempting to qualify for public financing for his unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in state House District 57. State officials said Hein, who needed $5 contributions each from 60 registered voters in the district to qualify for public financing, paid the $5 contributions himself for 15 of the contributions.

Candidates for other local office who qualified for the ballot by submitting signatures include incumbent Patrick Paradis, Ward 3 City Council; incumbent Kim Martin, at-large Board of Education; and incumbent Katie Vose, Ward 4 Board of Education.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

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