Portland Mayor Kate Snyder is endorsing Mark Dion and Andrew Zarro in the race for mayor.

Mark Dion answers a question during a mayoral debate. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

In an email to Portlanders Thursday, Snyder said when she goes to the polls in November her first choice for mayor will be Dion and her second choice will be Zarro, both of whom currently serve with her on the City Council.

The city’s ranked-choice voting system means voters can rank candidates in order of preference, or choose to not rank a candidate at all.

Snyder, who decided not to run for a second term, wrote that Dion, the former Cumberland County sheriff and state lawmaker, is “not flappable,” and that his “approach to problem solving is what I believe Portland needs right now in the face of evolving and unprecedented challenges.”

Dion is grateful to have Snyder’s support.

“I sincerely appreciate the confidence that the mayor has expressed in me,” he said. “There is nothing that compels her to make a public endorsement. I’m honored she decided to express her judgment about this race.”


Snyder said that Zarro, who holds a graduate degree in public administration from Northeastern and formerly operated a coffee shop in Portland, is “thoughtful, and dedicated to policy that reflects our community’s diverse priorities.”

Andrew Zarro, 35, with his dog Albus at home in Back Cove. Photo by Mary Gelman

“I am so grateful that Mayor Snyder is supporting and endorsing me as someone to succeed her,” Zarro said. “I’m optimistic that I can take the leadership that she’s leaving and grow it into the vision that I have for Portland.”

Pious Ali, who also serves in the City Council with Dion and Zarro was not mentioned in the mayor’s endorsement, though he is the longest sitting councilor.

“Everyone is entitled to their own choice for ranking candidates, but I stand firmly in the belief that I am the best candidate for mayor,” Ali said. 

Justin Costa previously served with Snyder on the city’s school board and said he maintains a lot of respect for the mayor, but he doesn’t believe her choices for mayor will be best for the city. “The bottom line is that if we elect the same people that are running City Hall right now to continue running it in the future, then we should expect the same results, and that really doesn’t work for me,” he said. 

Dylan Pugh is the only candidate never to have worked with Snyder in any professional capacity. He says he admires her leadership and offered congratulations to Dion and Zarro for receiving her endorsement. He admitted, however, that he was somewhat surprised by her choices.

“I initially thought that if Mayor Snyder were to weigh in, she would probably endorse Andrew. I was a little surprised to see Mark at the top of her endorsements,” Pugh said. “I appreciate Mark’s focus on safety, but given the things we have struggled with as a city during Mayor Snyder’s term, I was expecting an endorsement of some new approaches and that’s not what I’m seeing in Mark’s platform.”

Snyder did not respond to a call asking to discuss the endorsements, but in her statement she encouraged citizens to vote and to familiarize themselves with the city charter, which outlines the role of the mayor.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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.