BIDDEFORD – Voters in Biddeford will have a ballot crowded with candidates to elect on Nov. 8, and some referendum questions to settle.

Mayor Joanne Twomey is running for a third term. Her sole challenger is state Rep. Alan Casavant. The position of mayor carries an annual salary of $10,000.

“I’m all in,” Casavant said after submitting his nomination papers. “I’ve been doing a listening tour for about two weeks now, and the feedback is overwhelming. Voters want a change in direction and a return to more professional execution.”

Casavant retired at the end of the 2010-11 school year as a social sciences teacher at Biddeford High School. He intends to continue representing the city in the Legislature if he is elected as mayor.

Ryan Gavin, a 2009 Biddeford High School graduate, announced his candidacy for mayor in April, but did not submit nomination papers. Gavin said Wednesday that he will instead work on Casavant’s campaign, as volunteer coordinator and director of young voter recruitment.

“As the weeks went on, it became increasingly clear to me that this city is in desperate need of change,” Gavin said. “After talking with supporters and friends, I know that this is the right decision, because we simply cannot afford to continue on this worn-out path of political bickering.”

Twomey, a former state representative, said her focus as she seeks re-election is creating jobs and bringing a proposed racino to the city.

“We need the jobs and we need the revenue so we can offset the ($34 million) high school renovation project,” Twomey said. 

All seven wards and two at-large seats on the City Council are up for election, and there are 23 candidates. David Bourque, Bob Mills and Richard Laverriere are the only councilors running for re-election. 

Seats representing all seven wards on the School Committee are open, as are positions for warden, ward clerk and charter commission.

Candidates for charter commission will be elected only if voters approve a proposal to form a commission to review the city charter. The last time the city had such a commission was four years ago, said City Clerk Carmen Morris. 

Morris said the City Council approved three bond questions for the ballot Tuesday night. Residents will be asked if they want to borrow $4 million for road repairs and drainage work, $2 million for stormwater management and related improvements on Route 1, and $470,000 for roof replacements on the J. Richard Martin Community Center, the Teen Center in Rotary Park and the public works building.

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at:

[email protected]