Sunday’s Westbrook Democratic Caucus brought in nearly a full slate of nominations to some two dozen open positions, including all the incumbent councilors as well as last election’s mayoral nominee, Jim Violette, to rechallenge Republican incumbent Bruce Chuluda.

Incumbent councilors Dotty Aube and Suzanne Joyce had no Republican challengers as of Wednesday morning, though Martha Day, president of the Westbrook Republican Committee, said the committee will be working to fill vacant Republican nominations through Sept. 13, when all nominations are due.

Incumbent Democrat Drew Gattine will be facing Republican nominee William Holmes for the Ward 2 seat, one of three contested seats.

Incumbent Brendan Rielly, the council president, is facing a challenge from Dennis Welch, who was announced as a candidate by the Republican committee Wednesday morning. Welch is a 38-year-old corrections officer with the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department. He has lived in Westbrook for two years, and ran for council in Standish in 2001.

Phil Gagnon and at-large incumbent Michael Foley will be running for the two at-large seats, as will Republican incumbent John O’Hara.

Foley secured his nomination with “100 percent support,” according to Rielly, despite a recent protection from harassment order taken out against him by Tina Crellin, the city’s human resources director. Foley said he expects to have the order thrown out in court next week.

The Democrats did not fill the Ward 3 nomination. Republican incumbent Ed Symbol, who did not seek the nomination for his seat at the Republican caucus last month, said he heard the Democrats weren’t going to find a nominee to step up in Ward 3 and decided over the weekend that he would run again for his seat.

“They twisted my arm,” Symbol said of both the Democrats and Republicans. He said he didn’t want the position to be filled by “just any warm body.”

The city clerk’s nomination was the sole contested seat at Sunday’s event. Lynda Adams beat Martha Brackett. Adams had also sought the Republican nomination for the seat last month, but lost to Deborah Frank. Adams then changed her political affiliation to run as the Democratic nominee.

The Democrats’ school committee nominees are incumbent Vice Chairman Greg Smith in Ward 2, Alex Stone in Ward 1, Maria Dorn in Ward 5 and Sue Bearor for at-large. As of Tuesday they had no Republican challengers.

Sunday’s event was full of energy, said Gattine, who is excited for the campaign season.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said of meeting competing groups while putting up signs at night around the city and chatting with them for a while. “It’s always very positive. Everybody works hard.”

The candidates

Mayoral candidate Jim Violette, the former city council president, is a 47-year-old financial planner involved in a number of community groups, including the Rotary Club and the Wescott Junior High Building Committee. He is president of the Westbrook Seals and the Metro transit board. He has been on the city council, planning board and the recycling committee. He lost his bid for the mayor’s seat against incumbent Bruce Chuluda in 2005.

Council President Brendan Rielly, 37, is a lawyer for Jensen, Baird, Gardner and Henry.

Councilor Drew Gattine, 44, is the vice president of client services at HWT, a Portland company servicing health-care payers.

Phil Gagnon is a 30-year-old risk analyst for Key Bank in Portland, and a fifth-generation Westbrook resident.

Lynda Adams, who turned 38 on Saturday, works as a shockwave technician treating medical ailments. She worked in the city clerk’s office from 1989 to 1998, and has been a secretary to the fire chief.

Dems pick Violette for mayor


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