City Council Ward 1 winner David Morse, left, Mayor-elect Mike Foley, At-Large council winner Claude Rwaganje and Ward 5 council winner Elliot Storey relish their victories Tuesday night in Westbrook. Courtesy photo

WESTBROOK — Claude Rwaganje won the three-way race for the At-Large City Council seat Tuesday, with David Morse taking the Ward 1 seat and Elliot Storey winning in Ward 5. The three will be sworn in Dec. 2.

In total, 3,805 voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s election, for a 29% turnout.

Rwaganje won the At-Large seat with 1,557 votes to Steve Willette’s  1,337 and McDonald Johnson’s, 647.

“It’s been an experience I’ve never had before,” Rwaganje said. “It was more than I expected, I didn’t really know I’d be knocking on hundreds of houses, I didn’t know what to do at first because I was new. It was quite an experience and I am grateful for that. I am happy for those who trust me and elected me and I am ready to go. Again, I am a newbie, there is still a lot to learn as this is my first time in an office, and I am prepared to learn.”

The At-Large seat was most recently held by Ann Peoples, who did not seek reelection.

Willette said he had learned a lot from Rwaganje.

“He is involved with a lot and I am impressed with his resume. I haven’t been involved, and I plan on more community engagement,” Willette said. “I won’t make any excuses, I have to give my opponent credit, they were out there seven days a week. I wish I would have gotten to more doors and talked to folks. I lost a good race, and a clean race, you win some you lose some.”

Johnson declined to comment Wednesday.

In Ward 1, Morse received 400 votes, defeating Deb Shangraw, who received 352.

“We all decided early on to run a positive campaign and ignore any negativity that we encountered, you always kind of wonder if you will be rewarded for that and it seems we were,” Morse said, referring to his campaign colleagues, Foley and Rwaganje.

“We are all excited to move past the campaign and get to the real thing, serving. I am glad for the support, I knocked on a lot of doors over the past few months, met a lot of people, and it was good to connect those faces when seeing them at the polls,” he said.

Morse has been filling the Ward 1 seat since former Councilor Brenden Rielly stepped down early in August.

Shangraw said Wednesday she plans to stay involved with the city.

“It was fun. I loved our concept, I loved our Team (Westbrook), though I am saddened that we only got 29% of voters out there,” she said. “All in all, this is something I wanted to do, but it wasn’t in the cards and that is OK. Whether I run again, you never say never, but I don’t have any plans in the near future.

“The team, I told them, they won’t be able to sit back. They will be pulled into my initiatives I am still working on,” Shangraw continued. “Bottom line is, I am going to keep doing what I do, I’ll still be on the other side of that podium.”

In Ward 4,  Storey received 452 votes, ousting incumbent Larry McWilliams, who had 390.

“I am excited to get to work,” Storey said. “I met Larry (McWilliams) out campaigning and we had a great talk, and either one of us would be happy to see the other win. With similar platforms to one another, it should be a seamless transition from him to me. There was no noise on our campaign front, just two good guys going out and getting votes, and I ended up getting more.”

McWilliams said he wants to stay involved in city politics.

“It was a great experience, it is a lot of time and effort and I learned a lot,” McWilliams said. “I hope to stay more involved in what’s going on in the city with our taxpayers’ money, that’s key. We will see what happens. I wish them all the best of luck in there and hopefully, it’s a good choice for the city.”

In uncontested races, Ward 2 City Councilor Victor Chau secured another term with 608 votes.

Jeremy McGowan won the At-large School Committee seat with 2,793 votes.

Ward 3 School Committee member Noreen Poitras secured another term with 477 votes.

In the Ward 4 School Committee race, Mary Hall received 481 votes.


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