Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Posted: August 16
Updated: Today at 7:51 AM
Seven turn in signatures to run for mayor
Candidates have until Aug. 29 to have at least 300 of them validated in order to get on November's ballot.

By JASON SINGER Staff Writer


THESE ARE the 20 residents who registered with the city as potential mayoral candidates:

• Erick Bennett
• Zouhair Bouzrara
• Charles Bragdon
• Michael Brennan
• Peter Bryant
• Ralph Carmona
• Richard Dodge
• Jill Duson
• John Eder
• Hamza Haadoow
• Nicholas Hall
• Jodie Lapchick
• David Marshall
• Nicholas Mavodones
• Markos Miller
• Jed Rathband
• Paul Schafer
• Ethan Strimling
• Christopher Vail
• Jay York

PORTLAND - Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, City Councilor Jill Duson submitted 481 signatures to the city clerk's office. And with that, the race to become Portland's first popularly elected mayor in 88 years had its first official candidate.

Six candidates, from a field that could grow to 20, handed in signatures Monday. Among them was Nicholas Mavodones, a city councilor who was chosen by the rest of the council in December to serve his fourth one-year term as Portland's part-time mayor.

Candidates for the new full-time position have until Aug. 29 to turn in at least 300 valid signatures to get on November's ballot.

Duson didn't return a message seeking comment, but said in a news release that getting her signatures in early "reflects my commitment to action."

Mavodones, who handed in 500 signatures -- the maximum allowed -- called it the first step in a long process.

"I'm going to continue what I've been doing," he said. "That's build a grass-roots organization -- I had volunteers help collect signatures -- and also knock on doors, meet with people and let the voters get to know me."

Mavodones said he will run on his long record of public service.

In addition to Mavodones and Duson, City Councilor David Marshall, former state Rep. John Eder, retired merchant seaman Peter Bryant and Somali immigrant, businessman Hamza Haadoow and Portland Democratic Party vice chairman Ralph Carmona turned in signatures Monday.

The city clerk must determine how many of the candidates' collected signatures belong to registered Portland voters. That process will likely take several days, although the clerk had verified Duson's signatures by Monday afternoon.

Any candidates who don't have 300 valid signatures after the clerk's inspection will have until Aug. 29 to collect more. Eder, who turned in 310 signatures, and Bryant, who turned in about 350, welcomed the early turn-in date.

"It's helpful they've got this, so you can figure out where you stand, how many signatures are valid," Eder said. "Some residents might think they're registered, but they may not be. So I'm going to continue to collect signatures until I hear back."

Since 1923, Portland's mayor, chosen from among the city councilors, has held a largely ceremonial position. Under a city charter change approved by voters last year, voters will now elect a slightly more powerful, full-time mayor to a four-year term and a $66,000-a-year salary.

The mayor will have the power to veto the city's annual budget, but a veto can be overridden by a vote of six councilors.

One of the potential candidates, Jay York, has protested the new position. He says he's running only to point out the fiscal irresponsibility of making a mayor with only a few powers a full-time employee. He has asked voters not to vote for him.

Mavodones and Marshall, who began pushing for an elected mayor four years ago, disagree with York.

Marshall said a full-time mayor can lobby for Portland in Augusta, something the city has sorely lacked.

He pointed to reduced school funding, as well as Gov. Paul LePage's reported remarks about not wanting to work with Portland on a new fishing port, as proof that Portland needs a full-time advocate.

"We haven't had the leadership connections in Augusta," said Marshall, who handed in about 420 signatures. "If we started with diplomacy on Day One with LePage and the Legislature ... I think we'd be in a better situation today. We need them to understand that Portland is the central economic engine that drives Maine."

Haadoow did not return a message seeking comment Monday.

Staff Writer Jason Singer can be contacted at 791-6437 or at:


Showing 14 comments

Anthony M. Zeli 10 hours ago
Nick Mavadones did not support creating the elected mayor position, and I continue to wonder why he is running for a job he didn't think was worth creating. It sounds like he has changed his mind, which is okay, but this story doesn't address this. Councilor Marshall has indeed pushed for this change for many years now, and his position has remained steady.
Jason Shedlock and 2 more liked this

boobyjojohn 2 hours ago in reply to Anthony M. Zeli
mavadones didn't support the elected mayor, until he found out how much money they were going to be paid.
1 person liked this.

JuraA 3 hours ago
Based on this article it's pretty clear that the only one in the bunch with an actual agenda is David Marshall. He proposed the elected position of mayor with a clear understanding of the issues and a genuine concern for what is good for our city.
1 person liked this.

MrAWalker 54 minutes ago in reply to JuraA
He's also capable of working with the City staff (who are actually the power-players in this town). None of the other candidates have that experience - which will be essential for the Mayor.

Tommi 9 hours ago
Councilor Marshall is 100% right that we need a full time prominent person lobbying for us. Whether we are losing school money to rural districts or being insulted by our governor, a full time mayor will be a boon for us across the state. Marshall's mixture of experience and willingness to take on the failing status quo make him my 1st choice for mayor.
Jason Shedlock and 1 more liked this

Jason Shedlock 13 hours ago
Councilor Marshall has got it right. We need to make sure we not only look within the city's borders to affect change, but also work to forge partnerships where possible on the regional and state level.
2 people liked this.

William Ethridge 11 hours ago in reply to Jason Shedlock
I agree. David Marshall has already shown foresight in working to create the position, and I think he is the right candidate to achieve its full potential.
Jason Shedlock and 3 more liked this

Stephanie Vesey 10 hours ago in reply to William Ethridge
I agree with Councilor Marshall as well. We need a full time, people elected mayor to promote Portland. I look forward to hearing more from the candidates.
Jason Shedlock and 2 more liked this

Jake_007 12 hours ago
Where's Herb Adams when you need him.
Electing Jill Duson would be like watching the Bill Murray movie "Groundhog day".
1 person liked this.

Black 6 hours ago in reply to Jake_007
Diss'ng groundhogs? Good thing you didn't pick a hippo movie.

Ralph Carmona 17 hours ago
I wish you folks would have waited for closing day on this. I completed by 500 signatures three weeks ago, but was told to wait until this date. I got focused on a number of issues and turned in my signatures yesterday before 4:30PM. I was more focused on being the first candidate to publicly support the $33 million civic center bond measure. I was also focused on later today or tomorrow, announcing a key endorsement of my candidacy.
1 person liked this.

Peter Bryant 13 hours ago in reply to Ralph Carmona
Giood start - - Trying to whine your way in. ?

Now your sounding like the "Finger Pointer in Chief"
2 people liked this.

Ralph Carmona 17 hours ago
For the record, I had my 500 signatures over three weeks ago and was told about to wait for that date. I was more busy focused on issues, like a press release as the first candidate to support the $33 million civic center bond initiative. When I realized the date I turned in my signatures at 4:20PM yesterday. Ralph

Black 6 hours ago in reply to Ralph Carmona
No body outspends Ralph Carmona! is that $33m a firm pledge or will it go up as the campaign heats up?
boobyjojohn and 1 more liked this


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