September 25, 2018
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Former Portland mayor Brennan signals return to politics, files paperwork for House seat

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Then-Portland Mayor Michael Brennan speaks at a 2015 news conference in this BDN file photo.
By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff

Michael Brennan, a former state lawmaker who was the first to be popularly elected mayor of Portland in nearly nine decades, has filed with the Maine Ethics Commission as a candidate for House District 36.

Brennan has largely stayed out of the public eye since 2015, when he was defeated by Ethan Strimling in the Portland mayoral race, despite entering the race as the incumbent and maintaining high approval ratings.

Brennan is the only such candidate in the district thus far, which is currently represented by Denise Harlow, a former Democrat who left the party in May. Harlow is prevented from seeking re-election by term limits.

In 2011, Brennan, a Democrat, emerged from a 15-candidate crowd to be elected mayor of Maine’s largest city. It was the first time since 1923 that Portland voters elected their mayor, following decades in which the position was annually chosen by city councilors, effectively as a chairman.

Changes to the city charter in 2010 created a full-time paid mayor position and installed ranked choice voting as the method by which city voters would elect someone to fill it.

Brennan represented Portland in the Maine House before — from 1992 to 2000 — and served in the Maine Senate from 2002 to 2006. He — and Strimling, among others — lost to Chellie Pingree in the 2008 Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District.

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