Candidates set for city elections
By Chris Busby
The ballot for the Nov. 8 election is now set, and every race is competitive.
There are three seats up for grabs on both the City Council and the School Committee: one at-large seat representing the entire city, and the seats representing districts 4 and 5, both of which cover off-peninsula neighborhoods in the northern part of town. There is also a seat open on the Portland Water District’s Board of Trustees.
The race for the at-large seat on the City Council will be between neighborhood activist Carol Schiller, who is running with the support of the local Green Independent Party; Loretta Griffin, wife of the late Councilor John Griffin, who served as an at-large councilor; and Ed Suslovic, a former state representative who narrowly lost his re-election bid last fall to Green Independent Party legislator John Eder. The at-large seat is being vacated by longtime councilor and former mayor Peter O’Donnell.
In District 4, another longtime councilor and former mayor, Cheryl Leeman, is being challenged by Stephen Lovejoy, of Norwood Street.
In District 5, incumbent Jim Cohen will face Alvin Schulman, of Bartley Avenue, a board member of the Portland Taxpayers Association.
The race for the at-large seat on the school board being vacated by Tae Chong has attracted three candidates: Susan Hopkins, who is another Green-supported candidate; Frances Frost, of Cumberland Avenue; and Jaimey Caron, a former member of the Portland Planning Board.
The District 5 school board race also lacks an incumbent – James Dimillo is not seeking another term. John Coyne, of Saugus Street, will face off against Christopher Breen, of Forest Avenue, for that post.
And in the District 4 school board race, incumbent Teri McRae, who also holds county office as the Register of Probate, faces Lori Gramlich, of Saint Joseph Street. Sophia Njaa, a senior at Portland High School who was certified as a candidate in this race, has dropped out of the running.
The race for the water district board pits Alan Lyscars, of Kenwood Street, against Matthew Sinclair, of Anderson Street.
Municipal elections are non-partisan, in that candidates generally do not make their political party affiliation part of their campaigns, and that affiliation is not indicated on the ballot. However, some candidates do call attention to support they receive from established parties and politicians, and the Green Party’s growing influence in Portland’s traditionally Democrat-heavy local government is significant. Greens now make up a third of the nine-member School Committee, but have yet to take a seat on the council.