At least three candidates hope to compete this November for the District 4 Portland City Council seat held for 30 years by Cheryl Leeman, a conservative voice on the council who is retiring this year.
With one week left before the filing deadline for candidates, three people have either filed or plan to file their paperwork and signatures necessary to appear on the District 4 ballot: School Board member Justin Costa, teachers union field director Rosemary Mahoney, and nonprofit director and former Portland police Officer Raymond Ruby.
A fourth potential candidate who had taken out nominating papers, Mark Reilly, said he no longer plans to run for City Council.
Meanwhile, only one candidate – a former City Council member and state lawmaker – had filed as of Friday afternoon in the race to fill the District 5 seat being vacated by Councilor John Coyne. And five people had taken out paperwork to run for three seats on the Portland School Board.
Candidates have until 4:30 p.m. Aug. 25 to submit their nomination papers and the requisite number of petition signatures to the Portland City Clerk’s Office. Council and School Board candidates running in specific districts must submit between 75 and 150 valid signatures while candidates for at-large seats must submit between 300 and 500 signatures.
City Council and School Board races are nonpartisan.
Leeman announced in June that she would not seek re-election to the District 4 seat – which encompasses parts of Washington Avenue and the Deering, East Deering and Back Cove neighborhoods – so that she could spend more time with her family. First elected in 1984, she had run unopposed in three of her past five elections and won by substantial margins over opponents in the other years.
Almost immediately, candidates began expressing interest in the first open-seat race in District 4 in 30 years. Costa said he was not surprised by the strong interest given Leeman’s tenure on the council.
“When that happens, you can expect people to dip their toes in the water,” Costa said.
Coyne, who represents the North Deering, Deering Center and Riverton neighborhoods, also announced in June that he would not seek a third term on the council. Like Leeman, Coyne was known as a fairly conservative voice on a council that is perceived to have taken a liberal or progressive lean in recent years.
David Brenerman, who served on the council from 1982 to 1985 and served three terms in the Maine House of Representatives, was the only person to have qualified as a District 5 City Council candidate as of Friday afternoon, according to the clerk’s office. A second person, Danny Hatt, took out nominating papers but withdrew from the race.
“I enjoyed my service on the council and had looked for an opportunity to do it again,” Brenerman said.
Two candidates have taken out papers to run for Costa’s District 4 seat on the School Board: Becky Wartell and Stephanie Hatzenbuehler. Incumbent Marnie Morrione is the only person to have taken out papers in the District 5 race. Two individuals – Cheryl Miner and John Eder – are collecting signatures to run for a vacant at-large School Board seat.
On Peaks Island, incumbents Lisa Penalver and Timothy Wyant have taken out papers to run again for the Peaks Island Council. No one has taken out papers for two other Peaks Island Council seats, however.