BREWER, Maine — For 24 years, not all consecutive, City Councilor Larry Doughty has listened to the concerns of residents, and despite being unseated in Tuesday’s local election, he said he has no plans to stop now.
“I’m still going to do my job, even though I’m not a city councilor,” he said Wednesday morning after losing his re-election bid by 249 votes. “I’ll still know what is going on. I’ve been defeated before, but this is the first time in 12 years.”
Doughty admitted that he was surprised and disappointed when the vote tallies Tuesday night showed he lost to challenger and local postal carrier Matthew Vachon.
Vachon, 31, succeeded in his second bid in two years for a council seat, with his 2,383 votes topping Doughty’s total of 2,134.
“I’m really happy for Matt,” said Doughty, who was friends with Vachon’s grandfather and has known him his entire life. “He’s my mail carrier, you know, and he’s a good kid.”
Vachon thanked his mother, Michele Perkins, and Doughty, for their support during the election. He described Doughty as “the man who has been a mentor and friend since before I even thought about running.”
“There is really no words to adequately describe how important he has been to me and how important he will remain to me moving forward,” Vachon said of Doughty in a Facebook post. “I’m still in a state of shock and awe at this point, but I’m also excited to get to work and proudly serve my fellow citizens of the city of Brewer.”
The other seat up for grabs Tuesday went to Brewer Mayor Jerry Goss, who was re-elected to a second term on the City Council with 2,684 votes.
“It’s been a heck of an honor to serve,” Doughty said. “I really pride myself in the fact I’ve never missed an official City Council meeting in 24 years. I never missed one. I’ve made it to them all.”
He is second longest-serving council member, behind only Gerald “Gerry” Robertson, who served for 46 years.
Howard Kroll, Brewer’s City Clerk and registrar of voters, said almost 500 new voters turned out to cast ballots, and Doughty has a theory that many of those voted for Vachon.
“They were all young people pretty much, and I think that is one of the things that put over Matt,” he said.
Doughty, 73, said he also believes his age played in a role in his defeat, as voters said, in essence, “Let’s change the color.”
“Matt is going to be an excellent councilor,” he said. “He will serve the citizens of Brewer very well.”
Doughty also noted that he was very vocal in his opposition to the fireworks restriction referendum, which voters approved 3,013 to 1,797, and that may have played a role in his defeat.
“I have been putting my issues out there — I don’t hold back — you know me,” he said.
Doughty, who for years has used his blog, ourstory.com/larrytdoughty, to keep residents informed about happenings in the Brewer area, said he plans to continue his postings, and may add even more.
“It’s probably going to get more interesting now,” he said. “I’m going to try to be nice.”
His blog post on Wednesday said he was disappointed to lose his seat, describing his time as a city councilor as “a great ride.” Doughty also said he is looking forward to running the next time a seat on the council becomes available.
“I’m only 73, you know,” he said.