Knox County voters partial to incumbents

Posted Nov. 04, 2010, at 12:28 a.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine — Knox County largely decided to keep its incumbents seated in Tuesday’s election. The sheriff, judge of probate, state senator in District 20 and most of the state representatives in the county, including in Districts 46, 47, 48 and 49, won re-election.

But there also will be a new county commissioner, a new Republican representative in House District 52 and two new members on the Rockland City Council.

Democratic Sheriff Donna Dennison of St. George defeated her two opponents by a large margin. Dennison rounded up about 55 percent of the vote, leaving Michael Phillips and Jeffrey Gallagher with 25 percent and 20 percent of the vote, respectively, according to unofficial results tallied by the Bangor Daily News.

“It doesn’t just reflect on me, it reflects on this agency as a whole,” Dennison said of her department Wednesday. “It says the county looks well on us as a whole; we’re a team.”

Republican Carol Emery of St. George, who has been judge of probate since 1990, also retained her position.

Emery said staying nonpartisan throughout her campaign allowed her to rake in 64 percent of the votes.

“There is nothing political about helping an older person or finding a good home for a child,” she said Wednesday. “I think that [because] my message of this isn’t political, I had such support from very strong Democrats.”

The contest for a Knox County commission seat was a bit tighter, with Democrat Carol Maines emerging victorious by 400 votes over Steven Dyer.

Maines said that in January she plans to begin her work to help towns collaborate more effectively.

Voters also returned Democratic incumbents Joan Welsh, Edward Mazurek and Charles Kruger to their House seats. Republican Wesley Richardson kept his seat in District 49, but Republican Deborah Sanderson unseated incumbent Elizabeth Miller in House District 52.

“My message throughout my entire campaign was to help me bring your voice to Augusta and the fact that I feel we need to get back to a more representative government,” Sanderson said Wednesday. She added that politicians need to get away from a “we-know-what’s-best-for-you feel. I think that message really resonated throughout my district.”

Sanderson said she plans to hold public meetings in her district so residents can chat with her.

“My first goal is really to establish an open forum between the constituents and myself,” she said. “I don’t have any grand desires to go up there and put a bill in for any specific change.”

Republican David Trahan also kept his seat in Senate District 20. He plans to work toward streamlining business regulatory processes and to “remove layers of bureaucracy” to make work easier for local businesses.

Frank Isganitis and William Clayton were elected Tuesday to the two open seats on the Rockland City Council. Isganitis slid three votes past candidate Larry Pritchett. Both Isganitis and Clayton have touted business-friendly council campaigns.

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