ROCKLAND, Maine — The Republican candidate for a local Maine House seat said he plans to remain in the race and is fed up with questions about his residency.
Gordon Mank Jr. said Monday evening that even though he and his family have lived since 1999 at the Hospitality House homeless shelter that he and his wife oversee in neighboring Rockport, he considers himself a Rockland resident.
Mank has owned a three-unit apartment building on Grace Street in Rockland since December 2005. He listed 81B Grace St. as his residence on the voter registration card that he filled out in November 2006.
Mank said last month that he had moved out of the Rockland apartment pending renovations, but on Monday he revised his story, saying he did not physically live there but he considers it his residence. He added that he had been renting Apartment B to someone else and had asked that person to vacate earlier this year.
“I’m fed up to here,” Mank said gesturing with his hand up to his face about repeated questions about his residency.
Mank said he and his wife have purchased a home in Rockland that they will be moving into soon. The Knox County Registry of Deeds shows that the Manks purchased a single-family house at 26 Orchard St. in Rockland on Aug. 31.
The Maine 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.”
Mank was put on the ballot this spring and won the House District 47 Republican nomination in the June primary. District 47 includes all of Rockland and an adjacent part of Owls Head.
The Hospitality House, the homeless shelter the Manks have run since 1999, is in Rockport, which is in House District 46.
Mank said he received a call from the Republican state party office in the past week and was asked whether he planned to remain in the race. Mank said he would not drop out and would answer no more questions about his residency. He said he grew up in Rockland, went to school there and has owned property there.
Megan Sanborn, communications director for the Maine secretary of state, said the department has no authority to act on complaints at this point. She said that anyone wanting to challenge his nomination had five business days from the time he filed his nomination papers to do so.
Mank said he also is not sure whether he will participate in any debates if any are scheduled.
He said his main concern at the moment is his wife, who is scheduled to undergo surgery Wednesday for four collapsed discs in her back.
Mank will face off against Democrat Elizabeth Dickerson of Rockland on the Nov. 6 ballot. The seat is held by Democrat Edward Mazurek of Rockland, who is unable to seek a fifth consecutive term because of the state’s term limit law.