WESTBROOK – Westbrook Republicans will field just three candidates for the seven City Council seats and just one candidate for the three School Committee seats following a party caucus Aug. 24.

The Republican mayoral candidate is Ernest Porrell. The race is likely to be a three-way contest if Democrats nominate incumbent Colleen Hilton next month. James Tranchemontagne is an independent candidate for the three-year post.

Porrell, whose family has been active in Westbrook politics for many years, served as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, and after his term ended in 2011, he was defeated in a bid for the Ward 4 City Council seat by Democrat Dotty Aube. Porrell’s grandfather, Ernest O. Porrell Sr., was a Democratic mayor in Westbrook from 1949-1950. Porrell’s wife, Susan Porrell, is running for an open school board seat.

All seven City Council seats will be up for grabs in the Nov. 5 election. School Committee seats open are from wards 3 and 4, plus at-large.

Incumbent John O’Hara will seek re-election for a two-year at-large seat on the City Council, a position he’s held for the past 12 years. While the Republicans did not choose a candidate for the other open at-large seat, whoever is elected to that position will have a three-year term.

Matt Maloney will run for the Ward 2 seat now held by Democrat Victor Chau, and Sue Rossingnol will run for the Ward 4 seat now held by Aube.

Republicans did not elect anyone for the open Ward 1, 3 and 5 seats now held by Democrats Brendan Rielly, Paul Emery and Mike Sanphy, respectively.

Susan Porrell will run for the open School Committee at-large seat now held by Suzanne Joyce, a Democrat. No candidates were chosen for wards 3 and 4.

Changes to the city charter passed by voters last November affected how long councilors hold their seat in the next term in order to stagger the elections to prevent a full City Council or School Committee turnover. City councilors used to run for two-year terms, while School Committee members ran for four-year terms. Starting in 2015, all seats will be three-year terms.

Hilton said she plans to run for a third term if she is nominated at the Democratic caucus, scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 5, at 7 p.m., at the Westbrook Middle School. Tranchemontagne, a local restaurateur and independent, will appear on the ballot after collecting signatures from registered voters. Candidates for mayor can be nominated by party caucus or by petition. According to the city charter, petitions must be signed by at least 15 registered voters in each of the five wards in the city.


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