June 23, 2018
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LePage to choose from three candidates for Penobscot County commissioner

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Laura Sanborn (from left), Joe Clark and Michael Pearson were nominated for Penobscot County Commissioner by the Penobscot County Democratic Committee on Thursday at the Bangor Public Library. Stephen Stanley, of Medway resigned last week as a county commissioner to serve in the Legislature. Gov. Paul LePage will appoint one of the three to fill the final two years of Stanley's term.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The names of three of the six candidates who want to replace Penobscot County Commissioner Stephen S. Stanley of Medway will be sent to Gov. Paul LePage.

The governor will appoint Laura Sanborn of Alton, Michael Pearson of Enfield or Joseph Clark of Millinocket to serve the remaining two years of Stanley’s term. The candidates received 21, 17 and 16 votes respectively at a special caucus of the Penobscot County Democratic Committee held Thursday night at the Bangor Public Library.

John Costigan of Milford, Dick Blanchard of Old Town and James Renzo of Old Town also ran. Their vote totals were not announced.

Stanley resigned last month after he was elected to the state House of Representatives.

Registered Democrats who live in the municipalities and Unorganized Territory of Penobscot County from Orono north to the Aroostook and Washington county lines were eligible to vote at Thursday’s caucus. Each person could vote for up to three individuals.

Ballots were cast by 56 people, all of whom live in the district Stanley represented as county commissioner, according to caucus chairman Paul Davis.

Sanborn, Pearson and Clark all have served in the Legislature, as has Blanchard. Stanley replaced Blanchard as county commissioner in 2004, when Stanley lost his state Senate seat after redistricting and Blanchard was elected to the Legislature.

Under Maine law, the governor appoints a person to fill a vacant county commissioner’s seat but the appointee must be a member of the same party of the person he or she is replacing and live in the same district. That party’s county committee must send two names, but may send more, to the governor for consideration.

LePage is expected to make an appointment before the first of the year.

Democrat Peter Baldacci of Bangor represents Bangor, Brewer, Clifton, Eddington, Holden, Veazie and Eddington. The remaining municipalities in Penobscot County are represented by Republican Tom Davis of Kenduskeag.

Stanley and Baldacci attended Thursday’s caucus. Stanley voted but Baldacci did not.

“It’s great to see all these people get out tonight to elect a Democrat to do good work for the people,” Stanley said. “There’s going to be a lot of hard work ahead, because there is a lot going on in the county.”

Penobscot County Republicans must go through a similar process soon to replace Penobscot County Probate Judge Allan Woodcock Jr., 92, of Bangor, who resigned effective Jan. 1, 2013. On that day, Woodcock will have been on the bench 50 years.

A date for the Republican caucus has not been set.

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