August 12, 2013

Couple's political face-off piques national interest

They didn't expect the hoopla but hope it will spark interest in community involvement.

By AMY CALDER Morning Sentinel

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Jennifer and David Johnson are running against each other for Ward 1 clerk in Waterville, Jennifer as a Democrat and David as a Republican.

Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

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Jennifer said that when she met David, she liked that he was good-looking, funny and smart; he says he was drawn to her competitive spirit. Neither paid much attention to the other's political stance before marrying a year later.

What was their first political discussion like?

"I'm sure it was about (former President George) Bush because everyone was talking about Bush and laughing at him because he was easy to laugh about," Jennifer said.

David acknowledged he voted for Bush.

"His approval rating was very high back then -- everywhere," David said. "Nationally."

Jennifer rolled her eyes.

Then they changed the subject. David said he knows Jennifer is going to win the warden race, since Waterville is a predominantly Democratic city.

"She's going to have the 'D' next to her name and I understand that, completely," he said.

The race may become moot however, as voters Nov. 6 also will decide whether to eliminate election of warden clerks and wardens. If they vote in favor, the Johnson who wins will serve in office for about two minutes, Jennifer said.

But she and David both said they plan to volunteer to help City Clerk Patti Dubois at the polls in future elections. (Dubois, a city clerk of 12 years in both Waterville and Bangor, said she has never had a husband and wife run against each other.)

David, meanwhile, wants to encourage others to get involved in community affairs. Too many voters go to the polls not knowing what the issues are, or who the candidates are, he said. He's hoping that will change.

"I think the only way people are going to be more educated is if they're more involved in their communities."

When she was a child, Jennifer's parents always took her to the polls when they voted, but she said she did not know until she was older that they were both Republicans.

David said his parents were unenrolled but never really spoke about their political persuasions.

The couple say they will not try to persuade their own children to be members of a specific political party.

But they said they will encourage them to do what their own parents never failed to do: Vote on Election Day.

Amy Calder can be contacted at 861-9247 or at:


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