BIDDEFORD – State Rep. Alan Casavant unseated incumbent Mayor Joanne Twomey on Tuesday with 62 percent of the vote in an election that focused on her support for a proposed racino in the city and his promise to restore professionalism to the mayor’s office.

The vote was 4,165 to 2,504, with 30 additional votes for write-in candidates. Fifty-three percent, or 6,849 of the city’s 12,911 voters, went to the polls, according to City Clerk Carmen Morris.

Casavant said he was pleased and overwhelmed by the level of support he received from voters and promised to restore confidence in the city and in city government.

“We have to change the story line,” said Casavant, 59, who taught psychology and history at Biddeford High School until he retired last June.

Casavant said he wanted to bring jobs to the city through better marketing, create a more inviting business climate, improve the tone at City Hall and raise the community’s self-esteem.

“We have to respect our history but not linger in it,” Casavant said outside his victory party at the North Dam Mill complex. “We need to accentuate Biddeford’s attributes as a great place to live and work and go to school. We need to emphasize what it is rather than what it’s not.”

While Casavant didn’t support the statewide referendum for a racino in Biddeford, he said he would “negotiate the best damn racino that Biddeford can get” if the measure passed.

Twomey, 65, thanked her supporters at a campaign gathering at the Wonderbar Restaurant.

“I worked hard for them for 18 years and now it’s time for me,” she said.

Twomey, who sought re-election to a third term, also has served as a city councilor and a Democratic state representative and has been a longtime environmental advocate.

She said she supported the racino as a way to bring jobs to the city.

She also hoped to increase city revenue to help fund a $32 million high school renovation project and to continue fighting the Maine Energy Recovery Co. trash incinerator.

She has been a strong proponent of the racino and criticized Casavant and other local representatives who opposed a bill that would have allowed the proposed Biddeford Downs without a statewide referendum.

“I was a lightning rod for the racino,” she said. “I never waffled.”

During her two terms as mayor, Twomey has worked to move the MERC incinerator out of the downtown area. For years, officials in Biddeford and Saco have complained that MERC discourages development and smells bad.

Last year, she walked out of negotiations with company officials, claiming that they missed deadlines and wanted to use public economic stimulus money for private profit.

Casavant is a Democrat who represents House District 137, which includes part of Biddeford and Kennebunkport.

The cornerstone of Casavant’s campaign was the slogan “Positive, Professional.” Casavant said he wants to put an end to yelling, sarcasm and intolerance under Twomey and create a more welcoming and engaging environment at City Hall.

Casavant said he also wants to work more closely with Saco officials to improve both communities.

In City Council races, Richard Rhames and Roch Angers were elected councilors-at-large, with Michael Swanton the winner in Ward 1, David Bourque in Ward 2, Bradley Cote in Ward 3, Melissa Bednarowski in Ward 4, Bob Mills in Ward 5, Richard Laverriere in Ward 6 and David Flood in Ward 7.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]