The five attendees at the Westbrook’s GOP caucus Saturday, Aug. 17, nominate Phil Spiller Jr., right, to run for mayor in November. In front of him is Deb Shangraw, Republican candidate for the Ward 1 City Council seat. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — Five registered Republicans Saturday nominated Phil Spiller Jr. to run for mayor and Deb Shangraw to run for the Ward 1 City Council seat.

The two were the only nominations for the November ballot to come out of the GOP caucus Aug. 17 at the Westbrook Community Center.

So far in the race, Spiller will be competing with City Councilor Mike Foley, the city Democrats’ nominee, as well as two other Democrats, incumbent Mayor Mike Sanphy and Michael Shaugnessy. The deadline for nomination papers is Sept. 6.

“I want this city to continue to be a place we all come to know and love, but I also recognize we need to grow in order to prosper,” Spiller said Saturday. “I am choosing to run for this office today not only because of my experience, dedication to and love for this city, but because I feel we need to come together as a strong community in order to move forward toward a brighter future.”

Spiller, a veteran military pilot and a Jet Blue pilot, is active in the city, working with Discover Downtown Westbrook on a number of events and projects such as Together Days. Spiller, an active presence at City Council meetings, is the son of former Mayor Phil Spiller Sr.

Shangraw, a local business and property owner who recently was a key player in securing a spot for the Hawkes’ “walking man” sign on the National Register of Historic Places, will be running against the Democrats’ pick, former Community Services Director Maria Huntress. Huntress also was nominated to fill the seat for the remainder of former Councilor Brendan Rielly’s term, which ends in November. Rielly stepped down early, Aug. 1.

Shangraw said she has long wanted to be involved in local government.

“I’d like to make a difference in the budget, as well as push my veterans housing initiative,” she said. “I want to have a voice on the other side of the podium.”

The mayor’s race is shaping up with four competitors so far. Foley and Spiller will be joined in the race by Democrats Michael Shaughnessy and incumbent Mike Sanphy.

Claude Rwaganje, a Democrat, is currently uncontested for the City Council At-large seat, currently held by Ann Peoples.

In Ward 1, it will be Shangraw against the Democratic nominee, to be chosen at their next caucus Aug. 27.

Democrat incumbent Victor Chau is currently uncontested in Ward 2.

Ward 5 Democrats nominated Larry McWilliams, who was selected to fill the remainder of Lynda Adams’ seat in April. That seat is also so far uncontested.

The School Committee will see a number of currently uncontested races as well, with Jeremy McGowan running for the At-large seat and incumbent Noreen Poitras for the School Committee position in Ward 3. In Ward 4,  Mary Hall is running uncontested for Michael Popovic’s seat.

In total, residents will vote for mayor, four City Council seats and three School Committee seats. If Foley wins the mayor’s race, another caucus in the late-fall will likely take place.

 

 


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