Election junkies get a December encore tonight, when the Lewiston mayoral race will be decided in a runoff between two-term Mayor Robert Macdonald and Ben Chin.
The candidates couldn’t be more different if you cast them: Macdonald, 68, is a conservative Vietnam War veteran and retired police detective while Chin, 30, is a progressive activist with the Maine People’s Alliance.
Chin outpolled Macdonald on Election Day, but his 44 percent share of votes wasn’t enough to avoid the runoff. Many didn’t give him a great chance of winning when he announced his run in February, but he has put this race in what looks like the toss-up column after rolling out a massive campaign.
He raised nearly $88,000 — or 15 times more than Macdonald — through Nov. 24 and put armies of his employer’s activists to work making phone calls and knocking on doors.
All signs point to abnormally high turnout in tonight’s race, with nearly 3,000 people requesting absentee ballots. That’s 800 more than in the November election and 2,100 more than the last Lewiston runoff in 2011.
I’m heading to Lewiston this morning, and my Twitter account is the best place to catch updates during voting and after polls close at Longley Elementary School on Birch Street at 8 p.m.
We knew the result of the November election by 9 p.m., but it’ll be later tonight, because ballots are being hand-counted. The city clerk’s office is telling us to expect results by 11 p.m., so stick with me until late tonight.
Do you need to get caught up on the major events in the race? Here’s my guide to the essential media coverage so far. — Michael Shepherd
- Democrat questions legality of Lewiston mayor’s call to list welfare recipients — Judy Meyer and Scott Thistle, Sun Journal — Sept. 24
- Lewiston race tests whether tough talk on welfare still wins Maine elections — Michael Shepherd, Bangor Daily News, Oct. 4
- ‘Don’t vote for Ho Chi Chin’: Maine landlord’s signs denounced as racist, disgusting — Elahe Izadi, Washington Post
- Chin outpolls Macdonald but not by enough to avoid runoff in Lewiston — Michael Shepherd, BDN, Nov. 3
- Why Lewiston is an important test for the Maine People’s Alliance — Michael Shepherd, BDN, Nov. 15
- Ben Chin, Robert Macdonald debate on Lewiston’s reputation, housing — Bonnie Washuk, Sun Journal, Nov. 19
- The 4 things that could sway Lewiston’s unprecedented mayoral race — Michael Shepherd, BDN, Dec. 6
- Mayoral race in Maine could help define city’s future amid demographic shift — Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times, Dec. 6
- Gov. Paul LePage is going into the belly of the liberal beast for a town hall meeting in Portland tonight. The BDN’s Chris Cousins will be there, so watch him on Twitter.
- Two Republicans who won seats in the Maine House of Representatives in November — Matthew Harrington of Springvale and Lester Ordway of Standish — were sworn in by LePage on Monday.
- State Rep. Jeff Pierce, R-Dresden, has been criticized for a sharing an anti-Muslim post on Facebook, according to the Times Record. — Michael Shepherd
- House members ask AG to investigate LePage for abuse of power — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- Strimling sets mayoral tone in inaugural address. Here are 4 big takeaways — Seth Koenig, BDN
- State facing housing crisis for low-income Mainers — Mal Leary, MPBN
- Pingree introduces bill to reduce US food waste — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- Veteran: ‘Pearl Harbor isn’t just something that happened a long time ago’ — Christopher Cousins, BDN
- Thibodeau: Maine legislators close to deal that includes hiring 10 more drug agents — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- US Supreme Court rejects challenge to assault weapon ban — Lawrence Hurley, Reuters
- Donald Trump calls for ban on Muslims entering US — Steve Holland and Emily Stephenson, Reuters
Best of Maine’s Craigslist
- Someone in Harmony is selling a breeding chinchilla couple, and to prove it, the animals appear to be breeding in the photo. Dunkin and Dori are committed, though. They’ve had nine kits.
- A guy thought a woman who works at a Coffee By Design store in Portland was cute, but he was shot down by her girlfriend, who said, “She is mine and she is gay. I agree though, she is very cute.”
- You can get a “Merry Chris Moose Head Mount” for $1,500 in Saco. It’s exactly what it sounds like.
- If you’d rather have a chainsaw-carved animal, I suggest this bear, which is for sale for $180 just over the New Hampshire border in Milton. It wears a hat and holds a shotgun now, but don’t worry, they “can be removed so you can add accesories for differnt seasons or occasions.” — Michael Shepherd