Here’s everything Portlanders really need to know about this election

BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett

BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett

Good evening from the BDN Portland office on Congress Street. If you don’t vote this year, I refuse to be your friend.

Christopher Cousins of the BDN today published this really thorough guide to everything on the state ballot. If you want to know about the referendum questions and catch up on headlines for the congressional race between U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D) and her challenger Mark Holbrook (R), read it here. If you want to read some piping-hot takes on the presidential race, just scroll through Facebook for a few minutes until your eyes bleed.

Here in Portland, you also have some local races to decide on.

First, here are some nuts-and-bolts things:

  • You have to register to vote, but you can do so now through Election Day. If you want to register at your polling place, bring an ID with your current address, or something official saying who you are (like a hunting/fishing license, Social Security card, birth certificate or state ID) and a piece of mail with your current address on it. More details available here, including information on absentee voting.
  • You can vote early until 7 p.m. Thursday at the City Clerk’s office in City Hall.
  • The polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Election Day.
  • Here’s where to vote on Election Day.
  • That same link will show you what your state ballot will look like.
  • If you need help getting to your polling place, METRO is offering free bus service on Nov. 8.
  • Here’s what the municipal ballots look like.
  • Here’s a video of a dog freaking out over dolphins.

Now that that’s done, here’s the list of everyone appearing on the ballot in Portland, and links to learn more about them.

City Council

District Three (southwestern neighborhoods)

  • Brian Batson
  • Edward Suslovic (incumbent)

Read these:

At-Large (Everyone votes in this race)

  • Pious Ali
  • Matthew Coffey
  • Jon Hinck (incumbent)

Read these:

School board

Roberto Rodriguez and Anna Trevorrow are running unopposed for two at-large seats.

District Three (includes the same neighborhoods as the council race)      

  • Laurie Davis (incumbent)
  • William Linnell           

Read these:


Portland Water District

James Willey is running unopposed.

Do you live on Peaks Island?

There are three people running for the three council seats with three-year terms: Lisa Penalver, Patrick Flynn and Stuart Jackson. All run unopposed.

There is a contest between two candidates vying for the two-year seat, though.

  • Howard Pedlikin
  • Alexander David Stankowicz  
  • John Dromgoole     

Read this: The Forecaster breaks down the race between the three candidates here.

There’s also a contest for the Casco Bay Lines director, which has a three-year term, for Peaks Island.

  • Twain Braden
  • Cheryl Miner   

Running uncontested for the positions lines director at-large and lines director for Cliff Island are Charles Burr and David Crowley, respectively.

Now, let’s get to the State House candidates (there’s a bunch of them):

For the big picture, read Michael Shepherd’s analysis from the past weekend. And read Jake’s reporting on how only three of Portland’s State House candidates signed an open government pledge.

State Senate District 27 (The peninsula, Back Cove and islands)

  • Seth Baker: Green Independent
  • Benjamin Chipman: Democrat
  • Adam Pontius: Republican

Read this: The Forecaster profiles the three candidates.

State Senate District 28 (The western, off-peninsula part of the city)

  • Mark Dion: Democrat
  • Karen Usher: Republican

Read this: Dion has basically been running uncontested, the PPH reported.

State House of Representatives District 38 (The West End)

  • Thomas Loring: Republican
  • Matthew Moonen: Democrat (Incumbent)

Read this: The district is looking at a rematch of the 2014 race but the challenger doesn’t have much to say, The Forecaster reported.

State House of Representatives District 39 (The East End and the islands)

  • Peter Doyle: Republican
  • Michael Sylvester: Democrat  

Read this: Clear distinctions between candidates running for Diane Russell’s old seat, The Forecaster reported.

State House of Representatives District 41 (Between Brighton and Forest avenues, off the peninsula)

  • James Azzola: Republican
  • Erik Jorgensen: Democrat (Incumbent)

Read this: In another rematch, a Republican with Libertarian leanings is taking on the two-term Democrat, the PPH reported.

State House of Representatives District 42 (Back Cove and Deering)

  • Susan Abercrombie: Republican
  • Benjamin Collings: Democrat

Read this: Collings ran Bernie Sanders Maine primary campaign and Abercrombie describes herself as a fiscal conservative, the PPH reported.

State House of Representatives District 43 (North Deering and part of Falmouth)

  • Jeffrey Langholtz: Republican
  • Heather Sanborn: Democrat

Read this: Two lawyers are facing off in this race, although one of them left the law in favor of beer, the PPH reported.

Running unopposed for the State House of Representatives

Democrats Rachel Talbot Ross in District 40; Richard Ransom in District 37; and Denise Harlow in District 36.

What’s a Registrar of Probate?

Maine is one of only a few states to elect an official to handle administrative work for the probate court, which deals with legal matters such as wills, estates, adoptions, guardianships and name changes. Registrar of probate is a paid, full-time job that receives benefits. Running in Cumberland County are:

  • Nadeen Daniels of Portland: Democrat
  • Jim Hughes of Freeport: Republican

Read this: The Republican candidate thinks it’s silly that this administrative office is elected and is running to change that. He wants to alter the Maine Constitution to make it an appointed position and then resign, Maineley Media reported.

Have specific questions about any one race? Email Jake or I and we’ll try to find an answer for you. and


Dan MacLeod

About Dan MacLeod

Dan MacLeod is the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News. He's an Orland native who moved to Portland in 2002 and now lives in Unity. He's been a journalist since 2008, and previously worked for the New York Post and the Brooklyn Paper.