WATERVILLE — In a surprise upset, Councilor Erik Thomas, the City Council chairman, was ousted Tuesday from his seat by political newcomer Thomas A. McCormick Sr. by only eight votes.

More than 3,000 people out of approximately 13,000 registered voters in the city cast ballots, according to City Clerk Patti Dubois and election warden Roland Hallee. All results are unofficial until the council confirms them Wednesday.

McCormick, who ran with no party affiliation, won a three-year term on the council, defeating Thomas 159 to 151. Thomas, 46, has served as the Democratic Ward 7 councilor for three years and has been council chairman all three.

McCormick, 59, is retired from Bath Iron Works and worked 33 years as a pipefitter and machinist. He said this was his first time running for public office and described his party affiliation as “unenrolled independent.”

“I was asked by friends and neighbors if I would be interested in running,” McCormick said recently. “My intentions are to be accessible to the residents of the ward, advocate for the residents of the ward, and fight to preserve the historical integrity of the ward.”

Also in Ward 7, incumbent Board of Education member Pamela J. Trinward, a Democrat, defeated Ronald A. Merrill, who ran with no party affiliation, for a three-year term. The vote was 186 to 116.

Trinward, 67, a field representative for U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, has held the Ward 7 school board seat for 18 years. She said in a recent interview that it’s important to use all available resources to keep children in school, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with schools facing many challenges, she wants to continue to bring her experience to the board.

Councilor Mike Morris, D-Ward 1, was reelected to his seat. Patricia Helm, a Democrat, was reelected to her seat on the Board of Education. Morris and Helm ran unopposed.

Voters also approved three city charter amendments related to filling vacant seats.

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