Thibodeau won’t seek re-election to Portland City Council

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The Portland City Council will be drastically different this fall, with Councilor Spencer Thibodeau joining two other veteran councilors – Nick Mavodones and Belinda Ray – who previously announced they will not seek reelection.

Their departures leave Councilor Pious Ali, who was elected in 2016, as the most-seasoned member of the council. Mayor Kate Snyder and Councilor Tae Chong are in the second year of their first terms; councilors Andrew Zarro, April Fournier and Mark Dion were elected to their first terms last fall. 

Portland City Councilor Spencer Thibodeau on Monday announced he will not seek reelection.

So far there are nine potential candidates for three seats on the City Council and four candidates for three seats on the School Board – a far cry from this spring when dozens of potential candidates took out nomination papers to run for the Charter Commission.

Voters on Nov. 2 will fill one at-large seat and District 1 and District 2 seats on both the City Council and School Board. In addition, voters will also likely decide competing referendum questions about limiting the size of homeless shelters in the city.

The at-large council seat is being vacated by Mavodones, who has served 24 years on the Council. Nomination papers have been taken out by Roberto Rodriguez, a current member of the School Board who served two terms as the School Board chairman; Travis Curran, a restaurant worker who lost a long-shot bid for mayor in 2019, and Brandon Mazer, chair of the city Planning Board.

The District 1 council seat is being vacated after two terms by Ray, who is starting a new career with the Greater Portland Council of Governments. So far, this is the most contested race: five potential candidates have taken out nomination papers. They are Anna Trevorrow, a School Board member who has also served as a previous chairperson; David Aceto, a co-owner of Arcadia National Bar; Bayside Neighborhood Association President Sarah Michniewicz; Spencer Rust, and Mark Foster.

The District 2 City Council election currently has one potential candidate, Victoria Pelletier. Thibodeau took out nomination papers but announced Monday he would not seek reelection. 

“There were a number of factors that went into this difficult decision and I certainly did not get into public service to just run for the sake of running,” he said in an announcement on social media. 

For the at-large School Board race, incumbent Sarah Thompson, another former School Board chair, has taken out papers for reelection. She so far has one potential challenger, Nyalat Biliew, who unsuccessfully ran for an at-large seat on the School Board last year.

The District 1 and District 2 seats currently have one potential candidate each, and both are incumbents: Abusana “Micky” Bondo is running for reelection in District 1 and current Chair Emily Figdor has taken out nomination papers to seek reelection in District 2.

Charles Shattuck-Heidorn has taken out papers for a five-year term on the Portland Water District Board of Trustees, and Jerzy Sylvester has taken out papers for one of three available seats on the Peaks Island Council.

The City Council, School Board, and Peaks Island Council seats have three-year terms. The water district term is five years.

Nomination papers can be obtained from the city clerk’s office, Room 24 in the basement of City Hall. Access is from Myrtle Street, and masks are required inside the building. Papers must be returned to City Hall between Aug. 9 and 4:30 p.m. on Aug. 23.

Candidates for district seats must gather at least 75 signatures of registered voters, and no more than 150. For at-large candidates, at least 300 signatures and no more than 500 are required. For the Peaks Island Council, at least 50 signatures and no more than 100 are needed. At least 100 signatures, and no more than 150, are necessary for water district candidates.

Additional information is available from the city clerk’s office: 207-874-8677 or [email protected]