BANGOR, Maine — Election season kicked off Wednesday, and early interest in three seats on the Bangor City Council was high, according to City Clerk Lisa Goodwin.
Six people took out papers on the first day they became available in hopes of running for City Council in November, Goodwin said.
Candidates may return petitions with 100-150 signatures between Aug. 19 and Sept. 6.
Three seats on the nine-member council will be up for grabs during this election. Councilor Susan Hawes is terming out and cannot run again for council this year. Council Chairman Nelson Durgin and Councilor Charlie Longo both are up for re-election. Both Longo and Durgin picked up petitions Wednesday and plan on running again.
Several Bangor residents confirmed Monday that they had picked up petitions in preparation for their campaigns. Those who said Wednesday morning that they planned to run included: Gibran Graham, marketing coordinator at the Briar Patch, a downtown book and toy store, and board member of the Downtown Bangor Partnership; Ryan Hatch, owner of the Maine Jump, a large indoor inflatable playhouse for kids on Hogan Road; and Josh Plourde, Creative Strategist at the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and member of Bangor’s Commission on Cultural Development. Goodwin said Bangor resident Victor Kraft also picked up papers on Wednesday. Kraft said during a July 22 public meeting about Waterfront Concerts noise concerns that he would be running in hopes of “closing down” Waterfront Concerts. He did not return a phone message left Wednesday morning.
Goodwin said there’s typically an urgency to council candidates’ signature-collection efforts because the sooner a petition is passed in, the better the chances all the signatures will be counted.
Bangor voters are only allowed to sign as many petitions as there are openings on a council in a given election. Because there are three openings this November, each resident can sign a maximum of three petitions, Goodwin said.
“The sooner you get them in, the better the chances all your signatures will count,” she said.
If, for example, a resident signs four or five council petitions, their signature will only be counted on the first three petitions submitted to the city.
Councilor Joe Baldacci said Wednesday that he is still contemplating a run for Congress, but would not leave the City Council if he were to run a congressional campaign, so his seat likely wouldn’t be vacated this election cycle.
He said he anticipates he will announce his decision about whether he will run around Labor Day.
Two seats are available on the seven-member Bangor School Committee. One is held by committee member Jay Ye, who did not immediately reply to an email Wednesday asking whether he planned to run for re-election. The other was vacated by Kate Dickerson in October 2012, when she resigned, citing what she believed to be an absence of debate and “culture of passivity” on the committee.
No one picked up a petition for a school committee seat Wednesday, Goodwin said.
Any Bangor residents hoping to win a seat on the council or school committee can pick up paperwork at City Hall during regular business hours between now and Sept. 6, but Sept. 6 also is the day those petitions are due back with 100-150 signatures.
On Sept. 9, the City Council will hold a meeting in which city staff will draw candidate names out of a bowl in order to determine the order in which names appear on November’s ballot, according to Goodwin.