PORTLAND, Maine — In a mayoral race charged with discord between an incumbent and a city councilor, a third candidate — Kate Snyder — was the last one standing in Portland’s election on Tuesday.
Snyder, a 49-year-old executive director of a nonprofit benefiting Portland schools, took 61.9 percent of votes in the final round of the ranked-choice election, unseating Mayor Ethan Strimling in Maine’s largest city. Strimling finished third behind City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau, a real estate lawyer, who got 38.1 percent of votes in the final round.
To many voters, the race was about determining a path forward in a changing city. Snyder positioned herself as a facilitator of good government, often emphasizing process over concrete political positions. In a September debate, Snyder pledged to establish “a tone of civility and inclusion” and saw the mayoral role as one of “collaborative public service” that cedes political heavy-lifting to the council.
A desire to revamp Greater Portland’s transit system was one of the Snyder campaign’s most salient issues. She argued that the city must decrease its reliance on vehicles, and supports eliminating fare for the city’s METRO bus system for middle- and high school students.