Special election for Senate District 19 seat set for Aug. 27

by Susan McMillan, Kennebec Journal

The special election to replace Seth Goodall in the Maine Senate has been scheduled for Aug. 27, and the parties will choose their candidates in the next two weeks.

Goodall, a Democrat, left a vacancy in Senate District 19 when he resigned to become New England regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. The district is made up of Sagadahoc County and the Lincoln County town of Dresden.

The Maine Green Independent Party will be the first to caucus to choose a candidate at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Topsham Municipal Building.

Tom MacMillan, secretary of the state party, said several people have signaled they may run, but only Daniel Stromgren has definitively said he will seek the nomination.

Stromgren is a social worker who lives in Topsham, and MacMillan said he has frequently spoken of the need to move beyond two-party politics in Maine.

“It’s really dysfunctional how most votes come down to party lines and whose leadership is better able to corral its members, rather than really what are the best ideas,” MacMillan said.

The Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee will caucus at 6 p.m. Monday at Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham.

State party spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt said the three declared candidates are Will Neilson, an Arrowsic resident and mostly nonpracticing attorney who owns Solo Bistro in Bath; Bath City Councilor David Sinclair, who is also an attorney; and Eloise Vitelli, an Arrowsic resident and director for program and policy development at Maine Centers for Women, Work and Community.

Sagadahoc County Republican Chairman Kyle Rogers said the only candidate he knows of is Paula Benoit, who held the Senate seat from 2006 to 2008, before losing to Goodall. Benoit has owned a gift store in Bath and worked as an advocate for adoptees.

The Republican caucus is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 23, at the Smith-Toby American Legion Hall in Bath.

The special election won’t affect control of the Senate, which has 18 Democrats, 15 Republicans and one independent.


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