Voter are greeted by candidates at a polling place at the Gov. James B. Longley Campus, Tuesday in Lewiston, Maine. The American flag still flies at half mast in honor of the 18 people who were killed in mass shootings less than two weeks ago. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

LEWISTON, Maine — Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline will go to a Dec. 12 runoff runoff with former state Rep. Jon Connor after failing to win a majority in Tuesday’s election less than two weeks after a mass shooting in the city killed 18 people.

Sheline received 45.1 percent of votes to 37.9 percent for Connor, a Republican who served one term in Augusta before losing reelection in 2022. Former City Councilor Luke Jensen won 11.9 percent of votes, while Joshua James Pietrowicz, a Toyota leasing specialist who has volunteered with Androscoggin County Republicans, got 5.1 percent.

Sheline, an entrepreneur who won his first term in 2021, told the Sun Journal in October he viewed substance abuse along with homelessness as critical issues in Maine’s second-largest city with roughly 36,000 people.

Connor, an Air Force veteran, told the local newspaper that his priorities included emphasizing public safety and easing rules on housing development.

In a statement, Sheline expressed gratitude Tuesday night “for the opportunity to work alongside people from all over the city and all across the political spectrum to make our city better over the last two years.” Connor did not immediately comment on Tuesday’s results.

The incumbent has been aligned with liberals but does not have a vote on most matters before the City Council. The body saw tension in October after four conservative members met at a bar in early October to discuss business in potential violation of open meeting rules and later ousted Councilor Linda Scott from her role as council president after she criticized them. 

Three of those councilors — Rick LaChapelle, Bob McCarthy and Lee Clement — lost their seats on Tuesday to challengers Susan Longchamps, Michael Roy and David Chittim, respectively.

The campaigning effectively stopped after the Oct. 25 shooting at a bowling alley and bar on opposite ends of the city. On Friday, Sheline welcomed President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden to Lewiston to meet with victims and families of those who were killed.

Billy Kobin is a politics reporter who joined the Bangor Daily News in 2023. He grew up in Wisconsin and previously worked at The Indianapolis Star and The Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.) after graduating...