BATH — Democrat and longtime City Councilor Sean Paulhus defeated Republican Ken Sener by a nearly 2-1 margin Tuesday in a special election to represent state House District 52.

Paulhus, of Middle Street, out-polled Sener, a High Street resident, 975-491.

Rachelle Leonard of Pratt Street ran uncontested Tuesday for the vacant Ward 4 seat on the City Council, and was elected with 164 votes.

Paulhus will complete the unexpired term of former Rep. Jennifer DeChant, D-Bath, who resigned Feb. 1 to work for Charter Communications. First elected to the House in 2012, she won a fourth term last November and would have been termed out in 2020.

Leonard, project administrator at Merrymeeting Adult Education in Topsham, fills the council seat left vacant by the Jan. 29 death of 24-year Councilor Bernie Wyman. She was scheduled to be sworn in at Wednesday night’s council meeting, Chairwoman Mari Eosco said.

Paulhus said he expected he could be sworn into the House as early as Wednesday, too.

He said he was “really happy with the outcome” of the election, and praised the “very good turnout, which I think Bath should be proud of for a special election.”

“I’m excited to get to the state House and start working for the citizens of Bath,” Paulhus added.

He also lauded Sener for doing “a good job,” noting that “he worked hard, and I appreciate that he put his name forward.”

Paulhus, who has spent most of his life in Bath, was first elected to the council in 2008 at the age of 22; he became its vice chairman three years ago.

He said he plans to serve on both the council and in the House. But state law required him to resign as assistant to the state auditor when he became a candidate. Legislation is possible that could change that restriction, according to Paulhus, who previously was sergeant-at-arms for the state Senate.

Leonard, a lifelong Bath resident, was a freelance writer, an English teacher in the Maine Community College system, and features editor with the Times Record in Brunswick before joining the staff of the former Coastal Journal weekly newspaper in 2013.

She spent 2013-2018 there – first as assistant editor, then editor, and finally editor and general manager – until the Coastal Journal moved from its Bath office to the Times Record office in Brunswick. The Coastal Journal merged March 1 with the former Mid-Coast edition of The Forecaster.

Sener served in the U.S. Navy from 1984-2012, 18 of them in the reserves. After time in management positions with International Paper in Wisconsin, he worked with the Bath Iron Works Surface Ship Support Center in Brunswick and has lived in Bath since 2000. He retired in 2012 after eight years as a managing consultant with IBM Global Business Services.

Alex Lear can be reached at 780-9085 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: