The three Democratic mayoral candidates watch as volunteers count ballots at the caucus Tuesday night. Michael Shaughnessy stands to the left of Mike Foley, center, and incumbent Mayor Mike Sanphy. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — Democrats chose City Councilor Mike Foley to run for mayor in November and nominated other candidates for the council and School Committee at their caucus Tuesday night.

“We need someone for mayor that knows the city,” Foley told the more than 100 registered voters at the caucus at the Westbrook Community Center. “Middle class families won’t wonder If I am on their side, I’ve always been on their side.”

Mike Foley, speaking here on his experience in government, won the nomination for mayor. If Foley wins the race for mayor in November, he will resign his At-Large City Council seat, which would then likely require another caucus. Chance Viles/American Journal

Foley pulled in 48 votes, beating incumbent mayor Mike Sanphy with 36 votes and challenger Michael Shaughnessy with 32. Sanphy and Shaughnessy say they will still run for mayor in November without their party’s nomination. Shaughnessy received the caucus nomination three years ago, but was defeated by Sanphy.

If Foley wins the mayor’s seat in November, he will give up his At-large council seat, which may require another caucus in late fall or winter.

The caucus was held a few weeks earlier than usual to find a replacement for Ward 1 Councilor Brendan Rielly, who stepped down as of Aug. 1. Former Community Services Director Maria Huntress was selected to fill the remainder of Rielly’s term and run for the seat in November, but withdrew from the race just before she was scheduled to be appointed at the City Council meeting Aug. 19.

“Ward 1 deserves to be representedIt’s my neighborhood, and it deserves to be represented by someone who has the time needed for the council and at the end of the day I want to spend that time with my family, especially my son,” Huntress said in an interview.

Another caucus for Ward 1 is now slated for Tuesday, Aug. 27, 6 p.m. in the Community Center.

Claude Rwaganje won the nomination to replace At-large Councilor Ann Peoples, who did not seek re-election. He defeated Jeremy McGowan, 72-32.

“Everyone needs to be welcomed in this city, and we need change,” Rwaganje said. “If elected, I will work with my colleagues to help our small businesses and homeowners.”

Rwaganje, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, moved to Westbrook in the 1990s. He is executive director for Prosperity ME, a non-profit that promotes economic literacy for immigrants.

Claude Rwaganje was nominated to run for Ann Peoples’ At-large council seat. Chance Viles/American Journal

Ward 2 voters chose to again nominate Victor Chau for the seat. Ward 5 voters nominated Larry McWilliams, who was selected to fill the remainder of Lynda Adams’ seat in April.

Individual ward vote counts were not immediately released.

For School Committee, McGowan, who also ran against Rwaganje, was nominated for the At-large seat  now held by Suzanne Joyce, who is not running. McGowan beat Jess Moniski, who was not at the caucus but was nominated by an attendee.

Voters nominated incumbent Noreen Poitras for the School Committee position in Ward 3.

The Ward 4 School Committee seat, now held by Michael Popovic, went to Mary Hall.

In total residents will vote for mayor, four city council seats and three School Committee seats. Foley’s seat will not be on the ballot, as he can still serve as he runs for mayor.

Jeremy McGowan won the nomination for the At-large seat on the School Committee, currently held by Suzanne Joyce. Chance Viles/American Journal

The Republican Caucus will be held this Saturday, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. at the Public Safety Building, in the large conference room.

Over 100 Democrats turned out to vote in the caucus Tuesday night at the Westbrook Community Center. Members of other parties and non-registered voters sat on the gymnasium stage, away from the action. Chance Viles/American Journal


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