Portland City Council contest could include Coyne, Dion

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A pair of well-known former city officials could create a crowded field for election to the Portland City Council in District 5.

Former sheriff, state legislator, and gubernatorial candidate Mark Dion has taken out nomination papers to run for the open seat, along with former City Councilor John Coyne.

Mark Dion

The deadline for candidates to return nomination papers to get on the Nov. 3 ballot is 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24.

Dion, an attorney, spent 21 years with the Portland Police Department, where he retired as deputy chief. He was elected sheriff of Cumberland County in 1998 and served 12 years, before being elected to the state House of Representatives in District 43 from 2010-2016. He was elected to the state Senate in 2016 and served until 2018, when he ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for governor. 

Coyne represented District 5 on the council for two terms, ending in 2014, and was considered a conservative voice on the body that has in recent years leaned more to the left. He works as a juvenile corrections officer.

John Coyne

The seat is currently held by Councilor Kim Cook, who announced she is not seeking a second term representing the district, which includes the city’s North Deering, Deering Center, and Riverton neighborhoods.

If Dion and Coyne both return their petitions they will join candidates Kathryn Sykes and Kenneth Capron, who have already qualified for the District 5 ballot.

District 4 change

There is now one less candidate for the District 4 seat after April Fournier, a member of the city’s Police Citizens Review Subcommittee, decided instead to run for an at-large seat on the council.

Andrew Zarro has qualified for the ballot in the district, which covers the East Deering and Back Cove neighborhoods.

Fournier is the fifth candidate to express interest in replacing at-large City Councilor Jill Duson, who is retiring. The others are current District 4 City Councilor Justin Costa and Astrida Rideout, who have taken out papers, and Ronald Gan and Laura Kelley, who have qualified for the ballot.

In addition to the City Council, there are three seats available on the School Board – one each for Districts 4 and 5 and an at-large seat.

To qualify for the District seats, candidates must collect at least 75 signatures and no more than 150. For the at-large seats, at least 300 but no more than 500 signatures are required.

There are also seats available on the Peaks Island Council, and on the Portland Water District Board of Trustees.