Democrats in several Kennebec County towns will head to the polls Tuesday to nominate a county commissioner candidate to fill the seat that became vacant last fall with the death of Beverly Daggett of Augusta.

Republican voters in both Kennebec and Somerset County will also get to weigh in on legislative candidates for two seats being vacated by high-powered term-limited incumbents, while those in Senate District 14 will choose both a Democratic and Republican nominee.

When the polls open Tuesday, voters of all political persuasions will consider school budgets and conduct town business. While there are no statewide ballot questions and the presidential caucuses were held in March, polling places will be open for voting on a smattering of issues.

Republicans who live in the 1st Congressional District — which includes Augusta and other parts of Kennebec County — will choose between Mark Holbrook of Brunswick and Ande Smith of North Yarmouth to run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of North Haven in November.

Chief among the local contests is the Kennebec County commission race in which former state lawmaker and current Commissioner Patsy Crockett of Augusta faces Augusta City Councilor Patrick Paradis and former Windsor Town Manager Carl Pease in the race to fill the District 1 seat. Democrats who live in Augusta, Chelsea, China, Manchester, Sidney, Vassalboro and Windsor will be asked to choose their nominee to face Republican Kristin Clark of Augusta and independent Jeremy Pare of Manchester in November.

Crockett, 75, was appointed to fill the vacant District 1 commission seat earlier this year. Paradis, 62, and Pease, 62, also submitted their names for consideration to the county Democratic Party, which recommended Crockett and Paradis to Gov. Paul LePage for consideration to fill the seat left vacant by Daggett’s death. This is the first time in many years that a commissioner’s race has been contested.

Republicans Kelly Couture, of Sidney, and Mike Perkins, of Oakland, are vying for the House District 77 seat that represents part of Oakland and Sidney. Former House Speaker Bob Nutting, an Oakland Republican who held the seat for four terms, can’t run again because of term limits. The winner will face Democrat Alan Tibbetts, of Sidney, who ran unsuccessfully against Nutting in 2012.

Both Couture and Perkins say if elected, their top priority will be to keep taxes from rising.

Couture, 57, a Sidney selectwoman, said she was inspired by Gov. Paul LePage to get involved in politics.

Couture said she believes in not raising taxes and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to oppose and vote against any increase in taxes unless something is cut to keep the revenue neutral. She also supports welfare reform.

Perkins, 54, the chairman of the Oakland Town Council, said Wednesday, “If you don’t like things how they are, you might as well get involved.”

Perkins, who said he’s always been a leader, aims to be as fiscally responsible as possible in his role on the Town Council, where he’s served for eight years. He said he believes in welfare reform, lowering taxes and cutting health insurance costs.

“I think we give too much money away,” he said.

In House District 107, Newell Graf and Anne Amadon, both of Skowhegan, are vying to be the Republican candidate for the seat being left vacant by House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe, of Skowhegan, who is running for state Senate. The district includes Skowhegan and East Madison.

Jobs, the current drug epidemic and welfare reform were main focuses of both candidates, they said last week.

Graf said he has the experience, having served two terms as a Skowhegan selectman, the last year as chairman, and two years as a county commissioner, where he is the current chairman.

Amadon said that as a registered nurse, she is drawn to helping people get off welfare and to fight “this unbelievable heroin problem that we’re facing.”

The winner will face Skowhegan Selectwoman Betty Austin.

Another hot local race is in Senate District 14, in which Democrats and Republicans will choose their nominees for the November election. The district, which consists of Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Monmouth, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, West Gardiner and Winthrop, needs a new legislator to replace Sen. Earle McCormick, R-West Gardiner, who opted not to run for re-election.

On the Republican side, Bryan Cutchen, 55, of West Gardiner, will face Gardiner City Councilor Maureen Blanchard, 53. For the Democrats, Shenna Bellows, 41, of Manchester faces Terry Berry, 61, a Gardiner city councilor.

The party nominees will face independent Joseph Pietroski of Winthrop on the November ballot.

Voters in several cities and towns will decide city council and selectman races, ballot questions and whether to support spending on local schools.


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