FREEPORT — Melanie Sachs defeated fellow Freeport resident Kathy Biberstein, 1,430 to 884, Tuesday to win the Democratic primary election for state House District 48, according to unofficial results.

Meanwhile, next year’s $34.88 million budget for Regional School Unit 5 passed in Freeport (2,155 to 539) and Pownal (390-162), but results were still being hand-counted in Durham on Wednesday. Town Clerk Becky Taylor-Chase did not expect to have the tally until Wednesday afternoon, after the The Forecaster’s deadline.


District 48 includes Freeport and part of Pownal. Sachs won in Freeport by 1,351 to 852, and in Pownal, 79-32. She this fall will face Republican Jay Finnegan of Freeport, who had served with the Legislature as the House Republican Office’s communications director from 2005-2012.

District 48 has been represented by House Speaker Sara Gideon, a Democrat challenging incumbent Susan Collins for her U.S. Senate post. Term limits prevent Gideon from seeking re-election to her Maine House seat.

Sachs is a licensed clinical social worker, and former executive director of Freeport Community Services and Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine. She thanked District 48 voters for their “trust and confidence,” as well as her family and volunteers for their hard work the past seven months.

“And finally, thank you to Kathy Biberstein for a spirited campaign that discussed many issues so important to our community,” Sachs said. “I am excited to continue these conversations in the months ahead with everyone in Freeport and Pownal in House District 48.”


For a home valued at $200,000 in each of the three towns, the school budget could cause a tax bill in Freeport to rise $32, and in Durham and Pownal to increase $6, according to RSU 5 Finance Director Ann Cromer.

RSU 5 voters had five referendum questions to decide. Aside from the RSU 5 budget, a nearly $209,500 RSU adult education program item, a $35,000 track and field capital reserve fund item, a $3 million career and technical education budget, and a transfer of up to $200,000 to the Region 10 Technical High School capital reserve fund were all approved in Freeport and Pownal.

The past few years have shown greater support for RSU 5 budgets in Freeport than in Durham and Pownal. Of the 553-266 approval margin last year, the spending plan passed 333-98 in Freeport, 85-72 in Durham, and 135-96 in Pownal, The Times Record reported. Freeport voters in 2018 approved the budget by 1,837 to 470, while in Durham it passed 553-346, and in Pownal, 321-200.

Freeport supported the budget in 2017 by 620-233, while Durham rejected it 246-184, as did Pownal, 112-71.

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