CAPE ELIZABETH – Gov. Paul LePage has scheduled an Aug. 16 special election to fill the vacant seat for House District 121, three months earlier than the date hoped for by town councilors.

LePage apparently wants the election held before a possible special legislative session in September, according to Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Michael McGovern.

“As the Maine Legislature will apparently be having a brief special session in September to resolve congressional reapportionment, Governor LePage believes it is inappropriate to wait until November for the special election,” McGovern wrote in an email to town councilors Thursday afternoon. “His office today contacted us to discuss the need to move forward with an election as soon as possible.”

McGovern declined to comment further on Thursday.

The House District 121 seat, representing the town of Cape Elizabeth, was vacated this spring by Democrat Cynthia Dill. On May 10 she beat out Republican Louis B. Maietta Jr. for an open seat in Senate District 7. That district covers South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and an eastern portion of Scarborough.

Town councilors on Monday agreed to request that the special election to replace Dill be held Nov. 8, on the same day as the statewide general election. They had not been informed at the time of the likelihood of a special session in Augusta in September.

Party committee members from Cape Elizabeth will need to caucus within the next few weeks to nominate candidates. A deadline of July 11 has been set to file certificates of nomination with the Secretary of State. Ballots will then be printed and the candidates will have a short window in which to campaign.

The news surprised Dill on Thursday afternoon. She said she has not heard any discussions about a special session to address congressional reapportionment.

Dill said the parties will need to scramble in order to reach out to voters in Cape Elizabeth before the Aug. 16 vote. She does not know anyone who has announced an intention to run.

“There are a lot of really good candidates who would be anxious to run,” Dill said. “The community will be very engaged as usual.”

The remaining portion of the two-year term ends in December 2012.

Ruthanne Haley, chair of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee, said she supports the decision by LePage to fill the seat before any special legislative sessions.

“We were hoping that an earlier date would be set because of the pending redistricting. Those are important decisions, and Cape Elizabeth needs to be represented,” Haley said.

She expected to be on the phone much of Thursday night organizing her party’s caucus. Haley declined to comment on potential candidates.

“We have some people that we think might be good candidates, but you really have to wait for the caucus for those people to identify themselves or be nominated.”

Jamie Wagner, chair of the Cape Elizabeth Democratic committee, could not be reached for comment late on Thursday.

Staff Writer Trevor Maxwell can be contacted at 791-6451 or at:

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