Democrat Kevin O’Connell (left) and Republican Garrel Craig shake hands of voters outside of the Brewer Auditorium on Tuesday morning as they go in to cast their ballots. O'Connell and Craig were the candidates in a special election to represent much of Brewer in the Maine State House. O'Connell won.

Brewer voters chose Kevin O’Connell, a former mayor, to represent them in the Maine House on Tuesday, handing the Democrat a victory in a special election to fill a seat that’s been vacant since December.

O’Connell received 1403 votes while his Republican opponent, former state Rep. Garrel Craig, received 1017 votes.

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O’Connell will fill the House seat held by Rep. Archie Verow until the 77-year-old Democrat died of a heart attack in December.

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” O’Connell said. “I really appreciate the fact people of Brewer had faith in me to think that I could go on to this next step and represent them.”

The special election to fill the seat was held the same day as Democrats across the state cast their presidential primary votes, translating to a larger turnout among Democrats that Republicans tried to counter through canvassing efforts in the city.

O’Connell has worked as a lineman for Emera Maine for more than 30 years. He also served in the Maine Air National Guard for 24 years, which included time in Iraq.

O’Connell has also served Brewer for 30 years in several capacities, including two terms as mayor, in 2013 and 2017. He’s been a city councilor and school board member, and he’s served on a number of other local boards and committees.