WATERVILLE — Competition in city elections in November will be unusually close.
David Johnson, a Republican, faces opposition from his wife, Jennifer Johnson, a Democrat, for the warden position in Ward 1.
“It’s kind of a pride thing between the two of us, for bragging rights for the rest of our lives,” Jennifer Johnson, 36, said late Wednesday in a telephone interview.
She was nominated for the Ward 1 warden position last week at the Waterville Democratic City Committee caucus. She said she decided at the last minute to pursue the warden slot after no one else at the caucus volunteered to do it.
Her husband, 32, was nominated Wednesday night at the Waterville Republican City Committee caucus, where only six voters showed up.
Republican Committee Chairman Neal Patterson acknowledged that with such a small turnout, he faced a challenge in trying to fill nomination slots for several open warden and ward clerk positions, as well as those for City Council, Board of Education and Kennebec Water District.
“Is there anybody in the room from Ward 1?” Patterson asked, after announcing that Ward 1 had open warden and ward clerk positions.
At that, David Johnson, a lead solution architect for Oxford Network, said he was interested in the warden position. He was nominated, 6-0.
The only other nomination received and approved Wednesday was for an at-large Kennebec Water District trustee position. Richard Staples was nominated for that spot, also in a 6-0 vote.
The group voted to allow Patterson to appoint interested city Republicans to the remaining vacant slots, which include another at-large Kennebec Water District trustee; a ward clerk in Ward 1; a city councilor in Ward 2; a city councilor, Board of Education member, warden and ward clerk in Ward 3; a warden and ward clerk in Ward 4; a city councilor, member of the Board of Education, warden and ward clerk in Ward 5; and a warden and ward clerk in Ward 7.
In the Nov. 6 election, city voters will consider approving changes to the city charter, and one of those changes would eliminate the annual election of ward clerks and wardens. If voters approve the changes, whichever Johnson wins the warden position will serve the shortest term in history, according to Jennifer Johnson.
That may serve to alleviate any jealousy on the part of the Johnson who doesn’t win; but either way, they probably won’t fight about it.
Married 10 years, the couple agrees on most things but avoids talking politics, Jennifer Johnson, a stay-at-home mother, said Wednesday before her husband arrived home from his caucus.
“We kind of agree on social issues but not fiscal.” she said.
She said that when she got home from last week’s Democratic caucus and told her husband that she was running for warden, he immediately took her to task.
“He said, ‘Hey, I’m going to run against you. I’m going to see which one of us would win.'”
Amy Calder — 861-9247