Portland City Hall (Portland Phoenix/Colin Ellis)
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Incumbent City Councilor Pious Ali sailed to reelection Tuesday night, defeating two challengers by a more than comfortable margin.

In the city’s District 3 council race, Regina Phillips, a professor of social work and nonprofit director, defeated 23-year-old data analyst Nathaniel Ferguson to take the seat vacated by outgoing councilor Tae Chong, a Maine State Chamber of Commerce director who opted against seeking a second term city government.

Ali, the mayor pro-tem and the longest tenured councilor, secured more than 73 percent of the vote for his at-large seat. Unofficial vote counts that went into the early morning hours on Wednesday had Ali ending Tuesday night with 22,184 votes, compared to his challengers Richard Ward with 5,070 votes and Aqeel Mohialdeen who finished a distant third with 2,218 votes.

Ward’s defeat came a day after he posted racist imagery on his personal Facebook page, and is his second citywide defeat in seven months. Ward ran unsuccessfully for a temporary seat on the School Board last summer. 

Mohialdeen finished with just over 7 percent of the vote. In three different precincts, more voters left the ballot blank than voted for him.

In the District 3 race, Phillips – the sister of Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross who won her own reelection bid Tuesday night – had a commanding lead over Ferguson, based on unofficial results. Phillips finished with 3,869 votes compared to Ferguson’s 1,997, meaning she secured just under 66 percent.

Neither council race had to go to a runoff using ranked-choice voting, a stark difference from the council race a year ago which initially resulted in a numerical tie and required several runoffs and a recount. Tallies for absentee ballots were the final holdout. More than 15,000 absentee ballots were requested.

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