ROCKLAND, Maine — A candidate for the Maine House seat that represents Rockland and part of Owls Head said he is a legal resident of Rockland even though he is living at the homeless shelter in Rockport that he operates.
“My legal residence is Rockland,” Gordon Mank Jr. said on Thursday.
The political website dirigoblue.com questioned his residence in a story it published Wednesday.
Mank owns a three-unit apartment building on Grace Street in Rockland. He lists his residence as 81B Grace St., according to the city’s voter registration list. He and his wife, Samantha, bought the home in December 2005. He registered as a Rockland voter in November 2006.
A visit to 81B Grace St. on Thursday morning showed there were no curtains on the windows and no furniture visible in the residence. Mank was asked if he lives at that empty apartment on the top floor of the apartment building listed as 81B.
“We’re going to be doing renovations. We’re doing some changes and had to move out,” Mank said.
Mank said he pays property taxes in town and is a registered voter of Rockland. He noted he grew up in Rockland but lived in Thomaston for a while.
Mank is executive director of the Mid-Coast Hospitality House in neighboring Rockport.
He said he plans to be physically living within the district.
Mank won the Republican primary in June to represent House District 47, which covers all of Rockland and a small portion of Owls Head adjacent to Rockland. Mank defeated former Rockland Mayor James Raye in the primary by two votes (166-164) after a recount.
Mank will be on the ballot along with Democrat Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland. They are vying for the seat held by Rep. Edward Mazurek, D-Rockland, who is barred from seeking a fifth consecutive term in the House because of the state’s term limits law.
The Maine Secretary of State’s Office referred questions on the residence to the state Constitution and Maine law. The Constitution states that a person must be a resident of the district at the time he is nominated or placed on a ballot. State law defines residency as the residence of a person where “the person has established a fixed and principal home to which the person, whenever temporarily absent, intends to return.”