LEWISTON, Maine — Ben Chin, an activist with the Maine People’s Alliance, a left-leaning political organization, is running for the Lewiston’s mayor’s office.

An email sent by Chin’s campaign manager Genevieve Lysen inviting media to a campaign kickoff event next week announced Chin’s campaign.

“Ben decided to run for mayor because he believes in this city and its brightest possibilities,” a release from Lysen stated. “In recent years, the political tide of Lewiston has pulled against our vision of a community that works together, dreams together.”

Chin is a Bates College graduate and a leader at Trinity Church. He works as the political director for the alliance.

Lewiston mayors serve two-year terms and are limited to three terms under the city’s charter.

Mayor Robert Macdonald, a conservative firebrand who has drawn criticism for his sometimes controversial comments about the city’s immigrant community, is finishing his second term.

Macdonald won re-election in 2013 with broad support over former Mayor Larry Gilbert.

Chin’s announcement comes nine months in advance to the November 2015 mayoral and City Council elections.

Chin said Thursday the campaign will launch officially next week during a Thursday, March 5, event at the B Street Community Center.

“I want to have a really big conversation about the future of our city, and we wanted to leave plenty of time to hear from folks about it, we just felt if we launched early and instead of in the fall, there would be time to have that kind of conversation.”

On Thursday, Macdonald said he would be seeking a third term, setting up what will be at least a two-way race in November.

“I think the Maine People’s Alliance is the enemy of Lewiston,” Macdonald said. “I’m ready for that battle — that’s fine. The voters will have the choice of whether they want to take care of the whole city or whether they just want to take care of the downtown part of the city. That’s the choice right there.”

Scott Thistle

Scott Thistle is the State Politics Editor for the Lewiston Sun Journal. He has covered federal, state and local politics in Maine for nearly two decades.