AUGUSTA — Three newcomers, Raegan LaRochelle, Heather Pouliot and Michael Michaud, were elected Tuesday to the Augusta City Council.

Raegan LaRochelle

LaRochelle and Pouliot took two at-large seats on the council in a race with four candidates, while Michaud was elected to fill a vacant Ward 3 seat, topping two other candidates.

Heather Pouliot

The four candidates seeking the two at-large spots up for election on the council were: LaRochelle, a consultant and leader of the local group Augusta First; Pouliot, president of the Augusta Downtown Alliance; incumbent Mark O’Brien, a longtime councilor and former chairman of the Augusta Board of Education; and Martha Witham, who previously worked as superintendent for multiple area school systems.

LaRochelle received 1,385 votes and Pouliot received 1,271. The two newcomers to the council defeated incumbent O’Brien, who received 1,174 votes, and challenger Witham, who received 389 votes.

“It was a really great race in Augusta, a really close race,” Pouliot said of the election. “I’m proud of the people who ran, everybody ran a good race. It’s awesome to see so many people involved.”

“I’m really excited about it,” LaRochelle said Wednesday of being elected. “The three other people in my race, I felt, were very qualified to be on the council. I think Augusta would have done well with any of them. My goal is to be a true representative, and listen to people and really dive deep into the community and figure out how we can continue to move Augusta forward.”

Michael Michaud

In the three-way race for the Ward 3 City Council seat — left vacant in June when former Councilor Harold Elliott resigned — Michaud, the current Ward 3 representative on the Augusta Board of Education, squared off against Lisa Newell, president of Le Club Calumet in Augusta, and Stanley Koski, a former city councilor who, since leaving the council, has made multiple unsuccessful bids to return to the council.

Michaud took the seat, with 265 votes, to Newell’s 192 votes and Koski’s 91.

Voting results weren’t made available to the public by city officials until roughly 4 a.m., as election workers resolved some problems that came up while counting votes, though none of those issues were anything that compromised the results, according to city clerk Barbara Geaghan, who started on the job late last month.

Geaghan said there were two ballots in one voting ward that weren’t counted by the voting machine tabulator so three election workers inspected the ballots to see why they had not been counted. She said voters, on those ballots, had over-voted, voting for more than one candidate in a race in which they were only supposed to vote for one candidate. It took about three hours to resolve that issue.

“The issue in no way compromised the results,” she said.

Also, Geaghan said there was an issue with the tabulator in central processing, a vote category including absentee ballots, discovered late in the process, and there was an issue with the mechanics of the voting machine. She said all absentee ballots were thus rerun to ensure an accurate count, a process that wrapped up around 2 a.m.

LaRochelle, an economic development consultant and owner of a property maintenance business, has coached youth sports for many years; has served with the Friends of Lithgow Library fundraising campaign, as a member of the Augusta Board of Trade, and as chairwoman of Augusta Housing Authority’s board of commissioners; and is a current member and chairwoman of the membership and marketing committee for Kennebec Valley YMCA.

Pouliot owns a graphic design and marketing company and, with her husband state Sen. Matthew Pouliot, R-Augusta, purchases and redevelops real estate in Augusta. She is president of the Augusta Downtown Alliance Board of Directors, co-chairperson of the Augusta Comprehensive Plan Committee, mentor to five Cony girls through the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, a member of the board of Maine Children’s Trust, past chairwoman of the Planning Board, and a past board member and employee of the United Way of Kennebec Valley.

Michaud works for Gagne & Son concrete and owned the Play it Again Sports store until it closed in 2016. He is a former exalted ruler with the Augusta Elks Lodge who with his wife, Lina, and other volunteers, started a back-to-school program which, this year, helped about 500 greater Augusta area students by giving them backpacks, school supplies and other items at the Augusta Elks Club.

Michaud’s election to the council will leave a vacancy on the school board, since the Augusta City Charter specifies that members of the school board may not also be members of the council.

“Last year on the school board I have enjoyed every minute serving and really gaining a perspective of half of the total budget for the city,” Michaud said, while also praising his opponents, Koski and Newell. “We will take steps, no matter how small or large, to make every corner of our city inviting for people from away to live, work and play. I am ready for the challenge. I will hit the ground running. There are many exciting projects that the city will be moving on in the very near future, including a new police station.”

All results are unofficial.

Former Councilor Darek Grant, the only candidate on the ballot to fill the remainder of former Councilor Jennifer Day’s term, was elected with 2,175 votes. Day resigned from her at-large spot, which doesn’t expire until December 2020. Grant will be sworn-in to the seat this month, while the other candidates elected Tuesday won’t take office until the start of the new year.

All races for the Augusta Board of Education were uncontested, and all were sought by incumbents. Reelected to the school board were Staci Fortunato in Ward 1, with 536 votes, Jennifer Dumond, at-large, with 1,999 votes, and Kati McCormick in Ward 4, with 553 votes.

Voters approved two bond issues, one, for $215,000 for fire and rescue equipment by a vote of 2,038 to 437, and another, for $920,000, for street and sidewalk construction, 2,006 to 466.

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