June 22, 2018
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Lewiston mayor’s race down to two for runoff

By Bonnie Washuk, Sun Journal

LEWISTON, Maine — The next mayor of the city will be either Mark W. Paradis, who pledges to work for more economic development, or Robert Macdonald, who pledges to slow the number of people he said are coming to Lewiston for welfare.

City voters will pick one of the two top vote-getters in a special election next month.

With five men running for mayor Tuesday, no candidate got a majority vote, or 50 percent plus, as required by the City Charter.

Unofficial returns show that Paradis got the most votes Tuesday, 2,967. Macdonald was a close second, 2,852.

Other candidates and the number of votes they received were Walter Hill, 1,442; Stanley Pelletier, 1,226; and Ronald Jean, 790.

The special election is expected to be held Dec. 13. The Lewiston City Council is holding a special meeting on that election at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Both Paradis and Macdonald said they were happy to be in the race.

“We worked hard. We have a good team,” Paradis said. “The message we sent was clear: expanding economic development, broadening our tax base, working with Auburn and the two city councils working together.”

Paradis supported the Lewiston casino, and said it not passing means the city will have “to back up and regroup. Together we have to come up with ideas of moving the city forward and create taxable development.”

Paradis also said that downtown has too many empty, old, blighted apartment buildings. Some need to come down, which would improve the downtown and the value of the remaining buildings.

He wants the city to move forward, Paradis said. “Our way is more friendly than Mr. Macdonald’s.”

Macdonald said he was pleased with the votes he received, crediting his supporters. “We made a good showing,” he said, adding he’ll work to get a better showing in the Dec. 13 election.

If elected, Macdonald said he’ll do two things. Create “a moratorium on Section 8 housing to prevent people from continuing to come in here from out-of-state and other countries, taxing us unbelievably.” Too many are coming to Lewiston “for welfare,” Macdonald said. “If somebody wants to come here for a job, please come. But we cannot afford to keep supporting these people.” In grocery stores you see the elderly counting pennies to buy a few items, while people on welfare with lots of food just swipe their cards, he said.

Second, he would push to start tearing down condemned apartment buildings. There’s no reason why so many in such poor shape are up, he said. “They’re slummy.”

Macdonald, 64, is a retired Lewiston Police Department detective who worked for the Lewiston School Department for 10 years. If elected, this would be his first political office.

Paradis, 59, works as a service manager, has been a city councilor, a member of the Lewiston Planning Board, the Finance Committee and Downtown Advisory Board.

Several voters at the Multi-Purpose Building said they voted for Macdonald because they agree that a big problem in Lewiston is too many people on welfare.

“He would make one hell of a mayor,” Rene Tassinari said. “He doesn’t accept handouts.”

Karen Morris-Arsenault said Macdonald “wants to be more conservative about the handouts.”

Other voters said they like and trust Paradis.

“I’ve known him for 25 years,” David Caron said. “I voted for Paradis because of his experience,” Abdirisak Maalin said.

In the Lewiston City Council race, unofficial returns show the winners are:

Ward 1, John Butler, who was uncontested; Ward 2, Donald D’Auteuil with 1,121 votes over Douglas Foss, who received 739; Ward 3, Nathan Libby, 580, over Brian Woodsome, 177; Ward 4, Doreen Christ, who was uncontested; Ward 5, Craig Saddlemire, who was uncontested; Ward 6, Mark Cayer won with 778 votes over Roger Roy, 483 votes, and Stephen Miller, 361; Ward 7, Richard Desjardins, who was uncontested.

In the Lewiston School Committee race, for the open Ward 1 post, Linda Scott won with 730 votes over Bette Thibeault, who received 292 votes.

Others School Committee winners are incumbent, uncontested candidates. They are: Ward 2, Paul St. Pierre; Ward 3, Eugene Dumont; Ward 4, James Handy; Ward 5, Sonia Taylor; and Ward 7, Thomas Shannon.

Three ran as write-in candidates for the citywide at-large seats. They are: Abdullahi Abdulle, Robert Connors and ZamZam Mohamud. Former City Councilor Elizabeth Dube is a write-in candidate for Ward 6.

According to the City Clerk’s Office, results for write-in candidates will not be validated and available until Wednesday.

See more from the Sun Journal.

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