Biddeford Mayor Alan Casavant swept to re-election Tuesday after a campaign that included ongoing tension over sexual abuse allegations that roiled City Hall for months.

Casavant, a longtime elected official and popular retired teacher, won his third term in a race against Daniel Parenteau, a business consultant and lifelong Biddeford resident who has not held elective office.

Casavant’s victory caps a campaign that included intense scrutiny of the mayor on social media, at a time when the city is undergoing rapid economic development and revitalization.

Casavant received 2,494 votes, 63.4 percent, to Parenteau’s 1,437, according to unofficial results. About 30 percent of the city’s 13,424 registered voters cast ballots.

Casavant has been a fixture in Biddeford politics since the 1980s, when he served on the City Council. After leaving the council, he represented part of Biddeford in the Maine Legislature before becoming the city’s mayor.

Although generally seen as a popular figure in the city, he ran into criticism this year from those who are upset with the city’s handling of allegations of sexual abuse by a former city police officer. Casavant tried to refocus the campaign onto economic development, highlighting the rapid growth in the downtown and mill district, where more than $70 million in new projects have been approved since the removal of the Maine Energy Recovery Co. in 2012.

“It’s very satisfying because the last few months have been tumultuous. I believe the voters have spoken loud and clear that they reject the tactics used to disrupt civil discourse,” Casavant said. “It also shows that they are very satisfied with the way the city is proceeding. I heard that over and over. I think that’s the message here tonight: that they like what they see in Biddeford.”

The race for nine City Council seats drew a crowded field of candidates seeking two-year terms.

In the race for two councilor-at-large seats, incumbent Marc Lessard won another term with 2,246 votes and Laura Seaver was elected to her first council term with 1,790 votes. The field of candidates also included Melissa Bednarowski (948 votes), Doris McAuliffe (757 votes) and Joanne Twomey (1,080 votes).

Ward 1 Councilor Michael Swanton won a third term with 341 votes. Challenger Kathleen Russell finished with 233 votes.

Ward 2 Councilor John McCurry, the current council president, ran unopposed for a two-year term and received 320 votes.

In Ward 3, Councilor Stephen St. Cyr, who was appointed in March after the previous councilor resigned, won a two-year term with 471 votes. Former councilor Richard Rhames received 339 votes.

Incumbent Robert Quattrone Jr. won a second term with 322 votes, edging out challenger Terry Belanger, who finished with 235 votes.

Ward 5 Councilor Bob Mills, who has held the seat since 2007, held off a crowded field to win a fifth term with 121 votes. His challengers were Perry Aberle (38 votes), Nathan Bean (83 votes), Carol Boisjoly (29 votes) and Milton Truman (68 votes).

Former Ward 6 Councilor Richard “Rick” Laverriere will return to the council, winning overwhelmingly over newcomer Debra Lauzon, 428-181.

In Ward 7, Councilor Michael Ready edged out Bernard “Ben” Neveux by a vote of 288 to 243.

Voters also chose seven representatives to serve two-year terms on the Biddeford School Committee. Re-elected members are Dennis Anglea (2,292 votes), Anthony Michaud (2,620 votes), Lisa Vadnais (3,003 votes) and Heather Mills (2,211 votes). The board will include two new faces, Brianna Gilbert (2,203 votes) and Crystal Blais (2,518 votes). Incumbent William “Bil” Moriarty received 1,756 votes and Timothy Pierce got 1,824 votes.

The field of nine candidates included incumbents Dennis Anglea, Anthony Michaud, Heather Mills, William Moriarty and Lisa Vadnais. Newcomers on the ballot were Crystal Blais, Karen Ruel, Brianna Gilbert and Timothy Pierce.

The Biddeford ballot also included three bonds totaling more than $12 million. Voters backed proposals to repair roads and sewers, but said no to repairs to city hall.

The first bond question to borrow $5.99 million to pay for road repairs won by a vote of 2,121-1,616. The plan to borrow $3.9 million to continue its Combined Sewer Overflow abatement plan passed by a vote of 2,160 go 1,635.

Voters rejected by a vote of 1,964 to 1,828 a plan to borrow $2.27 million to repair the city hall clock tower, repoint the brickwork, install fire sprinklers and new windows, and make other repairs to the building.

 


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