Polls open in Lewiston for mayoral runoff between Macdonald, Chin

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

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Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.