A half dozen people have emerged as write-in candidates to fill two soon-to-be-empty seats on the Old Town City Council after no one registered to run for the seats by the early September filing deadline.
Neither Council President Kyle Smart nor Councilor Shirley Brissette filed to run for reelection to the seven-member board, and no one else turned in the necessary paperwork to run for their seats by Sept. 2, City Clerk Laura Engstrom said last month.
Seven people confirmed to the Bangor Daily News that they’re running before this article’s initial publication on Oct. 22. Since then, one of the candidates, Charles Longo, has said he no longer intends to run. Those interested include the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Maine, a local high school history teacher and a delivery driver.
There is no registration requirement for write-in candidates in Old Town, according to Engstrom, so there’s no formal way to track the number of people willing to serve if they garner enough write-in votes.
There’s also at least one Old Town resident, Donna Conary, who’s said she’s running as a write-in candidate to represent Old Town on the Regional School Unit 34 board. The board has two openings, but only attracted one candidate by the filing deadline.
On Election Day, city officials will tally the votes for all the write-in candidates, and the top two vote-getters will be nominated to fill the positions. If they decline, however, the city will go down the list to the next top vote getter.
Voters need to use a candidate’s legal name, though spelling doesn’t need to be perfect, and indicate that the person lives in Old Town.
All residents will vote at the Elks Lodge, and polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2. Absentee ballots are available through the Maine Secretary of State’s website.
The candidates who have confirmed their interest are listed in alphabetical order by first name.
A 10-year resident of Old Town, McKee, 41, isn’t a first-time candidate. He ran unsuccessfully for City Council in 2018.
McKee is a U.S. Air Force veteran, and works for the University of Maine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Institute.
He said he wants to focus on ways to make Old Town more friendly to college students by expanding services like the Black Bear Express shuttle service and attracting more businesses that appeal to students.
An Old Town resident since 2005, Pushor, 51, has two children who both attended Old Town schools. He is a senior revenue analyst for a medical billing company and has worked in finance for the bulk of his career.
With both of his kids having graduated, Pushor said he wants to run for City Council because he feels like he can dedicate the time and use his knowledge to improve Old Town.
A self-employed delivery driver, David Huffstutler has lived in Old Town since 2010 and all four of his children attended Old Town schools, he said.
The reason he is running is because he sees serving on the City Council a way to help his community, Huffstutler said. If elected he wants to contribute more positivity to his community and the political climate.
A newer resident to Old Town, Harrison Kemp, 29, said he is running for Old Town City Council to give the people of Old Town “fair and honest” representation.
Kemp is a veteran of the U.S. Army and the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Maine. He is active in the libertarian scene in Maine as a writer and speaker.
As a councilor, Kemp said he would work to encourage community cultural events like art fairs and farmers markets, plus owners of small- to medium-sized businesses.
Blaich, 24, currently works in the telecom industry and is a year away from finishing his political science degree at Southern New Hampshire University. Blaich said he moved to Old Town 4 1/2 years ago and is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
If elected, he plans to focus his attention on working with Old Town Recreation — a nonprofit that partners with the city — to include more sports and get more Old Town residents involved. City infrastructure would be another focus, he said.
May has lived in Old Town most of his life and grew up attending Old Town schools. Now, he’s a U.S. history teacher at Old Town High School where he also coaches the junior varsity soccer and tennis teams.
May said he wanted to run for City Council after he saw no one was running out of a desire to serve his community.
Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Michael Blaich’s name and incorrectly listed the college where he is completing a degree.