The Portland Phoenix

Primaries: Sartoris defeats DA Sahrbeck; Duson, Skold win

sahrbeck and sartoris

Assistant Kennebec County District Attorney Jacqueline Sartoris, right, defeated incumbent Jonathan Sahrbeck Tuesday in the Democratic primary for Cumberland County district attorney.

Jacqueline Sartoris, an assistant district attorney in Kennebec County, defeated incumbent Cumberland County DA Jonathan Sahrbeck on Tuesday in the Democratic primary.

With no Republican opponent, and barring a write-in candidate, Sartoris’ overwhelming victory all but assures she will be elected in November.

Brunswick resident Jackie Sartoris is an assistant district attorney for Kennebec County and the Democratic candidate for Cumberland County DA.

Sartoris received two-thirds of the votes – 15,209 (65 percent) – compared with Sahrbeck’s 8,069 (35 percent).

She thanked the voters of Cumberland County and Sahrbeck in a statement released Tuesday night, with a look ahead to November.

“I am prepared for the hard work ahead, and look forward to securing the common sense and pragmatic policies that reflect the values of our county,” the Brunswick resident said.

Sartoris, who called herself the underdog in the race, was vocal during the campaign about her skepticism of Sahrbeck’s party affiliation. 

Sahrbeck was a registered Republican before being elected in 2018 as an independent. He enrolled as a Democrat last fall.

Sartoris campaigned as a “lifelong Democrat,” and said in May that she didn’t think Sahrbeck represented the Democratic policies that Cumberland County wants or needs. 

Sahrbeck, who lives in Cape Elizabeth, said he believes the DA’s responsibility is to be out in the community helping with crime prevention, while Sartoris said the office should work behind the scenes in response to crime.

Although usually a low-budget election, the Maine Justice and Public Safety PAC – an out-of-state political action committee not affiliated with either candidate – spent more than $300,000 on advertising and fliers opposing Sahrbeck.

“While ultimately the outcome was not what my supporters and I wanted, I’m proud of the campaign we ran and the work we’ve accomplished together,” he said in a statement.

Sahrbeck said he congratulated Sartoris on receiving the nomination and expects to help her transition into the job to ensure “the best possible outcome for the people of Cumberland County.”

— Evan Edmonds

Duson, Skold win Democratic primaries for Legislature

A former Portland city councilor could be headed to the state Legislature after handily winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Jill Duson, a former longtime Portland city councilor who also served as mayor when the position was ceremonial, defeated challenger Kenneth Capron with nearly 84 percent of the vote in the state Senate District 27 primary. The unofficial tally was 2,926 to 334, with 236 ballots left blank. Capron received just under 10 percent of the votes.

Jill Duson

Duson, 68, served for more than 20 years on the Portland City Council and School Board before retiring in 2020.

Duson will face Republican Jeffrey Tounge in November. Tounge was unopposed in the Republican primary, but Portland voters have historically sent Democrats to Augusta.

The seat is currently held by Sen. Heather Sanborn, a Democrat and owner of Rising Tide Brewing Co., who is not seeking reelection.

The only other contested state legislative primary in Portland was for House District 119, a much tighter Democratic race where Charles Skold defeated Susanne Robins, 648-529. Skold received 55 percent of the vote to 45 percent for Robins. There were 117 blank ballots.

Republican Peter Doyle, who was unopposed in his primary, will be on the November ballot opposite Skold.

Skold, 32, ran for the seat in 2020 and lost to first-term Rep. Barbara Wood, a Democrat who is not seeking reelection. The seat was previously held by former Rep. Matt Moonen, who also won his unopposed Democratic primary for House District 117 Tuesday night. He is unopposed in the November election.

Charles Skold

Skold is the former chair of the Portland Democratic City Committee.

House District 119 was formerly House District 38 and will change in November following the latest U.S. Census. Similarly, Senate District 27 will soon represent the area formerly included in Senate District 28. Senate District 27 currently covers the peninsula, islands, and nearby neighborhoods. Once the new Legislature is seated, however, it will include parts of Portland and Westbrook.

Several other Portland Democratic primaries were uncontested and included incumbents seeking reelection: state Sen. Ben Chipman and state Reps. Michael Brennan, Edward Crockett, Rachel Talbot Ross, Grayson Lookner, and Sam Zager.  

Including absentee ballots, just over 8,500 of Portland’s more than 62,600 registered voters participated in Tuesday’s elections, according to the city clerk’s office, or about 14 percent.

— Colin Ellis

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