Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline stands Wednesday afternoon in Kennedy Park with City Hall in the background, where he will remain in office for the next three years. He defeated challenger Jon Connor in Tuesday’s runoff election in Maine’s second largest city. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — After securing a second term in Tuesday’s mayoral runoff election, Mayor Carl Sheline spent Wednesday taking a “much-needed walk” and looking ahead to the January inauguration.

Sheline beat challenger Jon Connor by 122 votes in an election that saw the lowest turnout for a mayoral runoff since at least 1980. Sheline will serve a three-year term due to the city’s process to create staggered terms for elected officials.

When reached Wednesday, Sheline was walking downtown. He said after checking in at City Hall, he visited a few businesses and began work on committee assignments and preparing for the inauguration.

The ceremony for elected officials will be Tuesday, Jan. 2, at 6:30 p.m. at the Franco Center, where Sheline and members of the City Council and School Committee will be sworn in. The two bodies will also elect a council president and School Committee chairperson.

In a statement after the win Tuesday, Sheline thanked voters for placing trust in him. He said he’s excited to get to work with the new City Council, where five of the seven incoming councilors supported his reelection bid.

“Regardless of who won tonight, after last month’s election results I have been looking at the challenges facing our city with renewed optimism and vigor,” he said. “That’s because Lewiston voters chose council candidates who were focused on solving problems, finding consensus, and working together. I’m grateful to the voters for trusting me to continue to put those principles to work in the mayor’s office.”


Asked on Wednesday what he’d like the council to prioritize early in the coming term, he said, “We need to do everything we can to support our local businesses and make progress on social issues affecting our city. I look forward to working with the new council and city administration towards these common goals.”

The city has seen some prominent downtown businesses announce closures or relocation plans recently, including the announcement Tuesday that Boba would be closing its doors on Lisbon Street.

In response, Sheline said Lewiston “continues to be a great place to do business and I’m incredibly proud of our economic development team at the city.”

“They’ve responded proactively to the recent challenges we’ve faced and we have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline,” he said.

During the campaign, Connor argued that the current administration focuses solely on generating positive news and doesn’t do enough to address the real issues of homelessness and substance use.

Sheline has argued that efforts to create meaningful policy changes were stonewalled by the current council for the past two years, and that voters have spoken clearly that they want to see the council take action.


With results posted just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, the tally was 2,391 to 2,269, representing a turnout of 16%, down considerably from the Nov. 7 election which saw a 29% turnout. In that election, Sheline gained 45% of the vote, and had roughly 600 more votes than second-place finisher Connor, however Lewiston requires a clear majority of 50% plus at least one vote to win the mayor’s seat.

According to City Clerk Kathy Montejo, only six of the past 21 mayoral elections since 1980 have resulted in a runoff. Tuesday’s vote saw the lowest voter turnout of all of them, with only 4,664 registered voters taking part.

The most recent runoff elections in 2017 and 2015 saw 7,186 and 8,229 voters, respectively. A runoff in 2011 between Bob Macdonald and Mark Paradis saw a similarly low turnout at 5,023.

Montejo said she’s not sure how to explain the low turnout, but said the voting setup was consistent with previous runoffs, and that the city received compliments for its promotion.

“Between the city, campaigns and local parties, the message was definitely distributed as to the date and location of voting,” she said.

On Tuesday, Montejo originally estimated results would not be available until 10 p.m., but the hand-counted tally was completed just after 9 p.m.


After results were posted, Connor said he called Sheline to congratulate him, wish him luck and offered his help in the future.

“I believe Mayor Sheline and I set the example for how to run a campaign without tearing each other down and slinging mud,” he said. “I want to thank all of my family and friends, as well as the voters that supported our campaign. I ask that we all do our best to try to unite on our common goals for our city and for the betterment of all Lewiston citizens.”

Sheline said Tuesday night that in some ways, his next term will be a very different job than it was when he took office two years ago.

“Most urgently, I now lead a city working to heal and recover from the deadliest mass shooting in our state’s history,” he said. “Assisting however and wherever I can will continue to be a top priority for me, as I know it is for so many of my fellow Lewiston citizens.”

Sheline said he’d like to work with the incoming City Council “to make it easier for businesses to work with the city to grow, start up, and hire, to continue our work to expand housing that people who live here can afford, and to promote and take pride in our great city, among many other priorities.”

“One thing that will always be true: you’ll still see me all around Lewiston, meeting people, listening to them, trying to find ways to make our city better. I hope you’ll come say hi,” he said.

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