Mana Abdi is running for Lewiston's House District 95.
Mana Abdi, a Democratic candidate for House District 95, folds a campaign flyer while canvassing voters in Lewiston. Abdi said her top priorities are increasing funding for public schools and improving Lewiston's housing stock. She is one of two Somali-American State House candidates this year, alongside South Portland Mayor Deqa Dhalac. Credit: Ari Snider / Maine Public

Mana Abdi, a Democratic candidate for House District 95, is running apparently unopposed in her bid to become the first Somali-American lawmaker in Maine.

Abdi’s opposing candidate, Fred Sanborn-Silvers, a Republican, dropped out of the race on Aug. 18, the  Lewiston Sun Journal reported.

Sanborn-Silver’s decision to withdraw from the race came too far into this year’s election cycle for another Republican candidate to be nominated, so Abdi won’t face an official challenger in November.

It was not clear as of Thursday why Sanborn-Silvers withdrew from the race, although the Republican’s social media presence flagged after he made a series of posts to his Facebook page in June blasting a number of Democratic candidates and women in office, including Republican Sen. Susan Collins, the Sun Journal reported.

Abdi was born in a refugee camp, after her family fled war in Somalia. She came to the U.S. as a child. She attended middle school and high school in Lewiston, and graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington. She now works at the Office of Intercultural Education at Bates College.

As a candidate, Abdi said one of her top priorities is increasing funding for public education.

“And the best way to ensure that we take care of our schools is ensuring that our teachers get proper pay, but also proper resources in terms of the school itself, the infrastructure itself,” Abdi said.

Abdi is not the only Somali-American seeking office in Maine this fall — she is joined by Deqa Dhalac, who entered the race for a seat in Maine House District 120 in July. Dhalac made history last year when she became the first Somali-American mayor in the country.

Dhalac will face Republican Michael Dougherty in November.

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Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.