Sagadahoc County GOP picks Paula Benoit for special election

Posted July 23, 2013, at 8:33 p.m.

BATH, Maine — Members of the Sagadahoc County Republican Party on Tuesday elected former District 19 Sen. Paula Benoit of Phippsburg to run again for that seat in an Aug. 27 special election.

Benoit received 58 votes, according to Kyle Rogers, chairman of the Sagadahoc County Republican Party. The only other candidate, Guy Lebida of Bowdoin, received 11 votes.

Rogers said the campaign would “hit the ground running.”

“I’m pleased that we have a candidate and I’m pleased that we had such a great turnout this evening,” he said following the caucus.

Rogers said Rick Bennett, the new chairman of the Maine Republican Party, attended the caucus, as did three former District 19 senators, in addition to Benoit: Mary Small, Pam Cahill and John Chapman.

Benoit will face Democrat Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic, who was selected at that party’s caucus on Tuesday; and Green Independent Daniel Stromgren of Topsham, who was elected by his caucus July 15.

Benoit held the Senate seat from 2006 to 2008 before losing it to Goodall. She announced in June that she would seek the seat.

After ousting incumbent Sen. Art Mayo in 2006 after Mayo switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, Benoit served one term in the Legislature before Goodall beat her in a close race in 2008.

Benoit owned a store in downtown Bath and was active in that city’s community and economic development activities. As a legislator, she worked to reform adoption laws.

The Aug. 27 special election will fill the seat of former District 19 Sen. Seth Goodall, who resigned on July 9 to become New England regional director for the Small Business Administration.

Democrats currently hold 19 seats in the Maine Senate, Republicans hold 15 and there is one independent. No Green Independent party candidate has ever won a Maine Senate seat.

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