November 6, 2013

Mayor Hilton handily wins three-way Westbrook re-election race

Elected for a three-year term, Hilton is among some other officials elected Tuesday in Westbrook whose term lengths were changed by voters last year.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Westbrook Mayor Colleen Hilton will be in office for three more years.

The incumbent Democrat handily won a three-way race for mayor Tuesday, with 1,872 votes.

Trailing Hilton was unenrolled candidate James Tranchemon tagne, owner of the Frog and Turtle restaurant in Westbrook, with 1,228 votes.

In a distant third, with 422 votes, was Ernest Porell, the owner of the Armory Apartments in Westbrook and the Republican Party’s nominee.

Although Hilton and Porell were nominated at their respective party’s caucuses, party affiliations were not included on the ballot for the first time this year.

That change was approved in last November’s election, along with several amendments to the city’s charter. Also new is the three-year mayor’s term, extended from two years.

Hilton, 57, the chief executive officer of VNA Home Health and Hospice in South Portland, served on the Westbrook School Committee for 10 years before becoming mayor.

All seven City Council seats were up for election for the last time this year, though only three races were contested. Two other changes to the charter were to stagger council elections and extend council terms from two years to three years.

To make the transition, some councilors ran for two-year terms and some for three-year terms in Tuesday’s election.

Incumbent Democrat Victor Chau held onto his seat representing Ward 2.

He defeated Matt Maloney, the Republican Party’s nominee, 426-177, for a three-year term.

Gary Rairdon, an unenrolled candidate, defeated Democrat Ann Peoples, a state representative; and Republican Susan Rossignol, who served as the city’s finance director for 32 years, for an open two-year seat representing Ward 4.

Rairdon received 272 votes, followed by Peoples with 224 votes and Rossignol with 63 votes.

John O’Hara, the longest-serving member of the council and its only Republican, was re-elected to his at-large seat. He defeated Democratic nominee Veronica Bates, a school board member, 1,829 to 1,469.

Four incumbent Democrats ran uncontested for seats on the council. They are Brendan Rielly in Ward 1, Paul Emery in Ward 3, Mike Sanphy in Ward 5 and Mike Foley, for an at-large seat.

All terms are three years, except for Emery’s, which is two.

The Democratic Party also nominated three candidates who ran unopposed for three-year terms on the Westbrook School Committee.

Suzanne Joyce was re-elected to serve as an at-large member.

Noreen Poitras and Mike Popovic, both political newcomers, will represent Ward 3 and Ward 4, respectively.

Their terms are also for three years, reduced from four years – another change made to the charter last year.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: lbridgers@pressherald.comTwitter: @lesliebridgers
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