BREWER, Maine — City Council incumbent Kevin O’Connell, currently serving as mayor, was nervous about Tuesday’s voting and got up early to go to the Brewer Auditorium where council candidates — by local tradition — greet residents heading to the polls.
He was not alone. All five city council candidates — Jennifer Jalbert, 24; Bev Uhlenhake, 41; William “Will” Rogers Jr., 75; Ashley Blanchard, 29, as well as O’Connell, 53, — spent the entire day outside the auditorium.
O’Connell received 893 votes to earn another three-year term on the council. Uhlenhake won a seat on the council with 557 votes. They fill the two available seats.
City Councilor Arthur “Archie” Verow said he would not run for a third term on the council because he is too busy representing the city in Augusta. Uhlenhake, O’Connell and the winners of the uncontested school board and school trustee seats will be sworn in at the joint city council-school board meeting on Nov. 19.
Blanchard received 466 votes in the city council race. Jalbert tallied 404 and Rogers took in 392, according to unofficial election results provided by City Clerk Pam Ryan.
Uhlenhake, a broker for Epstein Commercial Real Estate, who also serves on the planning board, Brewer Business Alliance and the comprehensive plan committee, said the first person she informed was her wife, Sue.
“I sent her, ‘Yes,’” the newly elected councilor said. “She said, ‘Did you win?’ I sent another, ‘Yes.’”
After hearing she lost, Blanchard could be heard saying, “I’ll be back next year.”
Geoffrey Dapice was the last voter to cast a ballot in Brewer. He said he raced to the polls after work and errands to vote on the local school referendum and the state Army National Guard bond question.
“My wife is a teacher at the high school and my daughter’s boyfriend is in the Maine National Guard,” he said.
O’Connell, a lineman for Bangor Hydro Electric Co. who served two terms on the school board and was appointed to the high school trustees, arrived at the polls at 6:30 a.m. and by the time the doors opened at 7 a.m., all of his competition was standing beside him.
“I was up at 3 o’clock,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep. I was a little anxious.”
After drinking some coffee and watching a little History Channel, “I made a couple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and flew over here,” the mayor said, still standing outside the auditorium after the sun had set.
“All you can do is give them your name,” O’Connell said of the voting residents who passed by.
Julie Milan was unopposed for the Brewer School Committee seat now held by David Austin, who decided not to run, and Brewer High School district trustee incumbent Manley DeBeck is the lone person who ran for that seat. Milan tallied 1,258 votes and DeBeck earned 1,224.
Residents also approved a $2.7 million interest-free school bond referendum for improvements at Brewer High School that will add handicap bathrooms, a new gym floor, communication improvements and create an “art suite” for the art department.
The referendum passed 912-533.