Robert E. Macdonald emerged victorious Tuesday in a run-off election to determine the next mayor of Lewiston. He squeezed out the victory by 70 votes, winning 2,543 votes to the 2,473 votes cast for Mark W. Paradis.
Paradis may not have been there in person, but he was in spirit as his wife Ronnie, son Phillip and several supporters were at the polls, encouraging residents to vote for him. Paradis, who announced last Wednesday that he was battling cancer, died unexpectedly on Friday.
According to the charter and state statute, the run-off election went ahead as scheduled. Had Paradis received the most votes, the mayor’s seat would have been declared vacant. Then an entirely new election would have been called, and anyone could have run for the position.
Paradis supporters, who included Mayor Larry Gilbert and City Councilor Renee Bernier, as well as Democratic state legislators, hoped to force a new election with a new slate of candidates. But Macdonald overcame their efforts, becoming Lewiston’s first Republican mayor in decades.
The “Robert Macdonald for Mayor” page on Facebook posted a simple message after the election: “We won! Thank you, all. And rest in peace, Mark.”
The run-off on Tuesday was called after the general election in November, when Macdonald and Paradis topped a slate of five candidates for mayor. Paradis won the field with 2,967 votes (32%). Macdonald was a close second with 2,853 votes (31%).
The other three candidates for mayor in the general election were: Walter M. Hill, who got 1,442 votes (16%); Stanley Pelletier, who took 1,226 votes (13%); and Ronald Jean, who won 790 votes (9%).
Since the Lewiston mayor must be elected with more than 50% of the vote, Paradis and Macdonald had to face each other in the December 13 run-off election.
Despite the thin margin of victory, Macdonald captured 50.7% of the vote on Tuesday, enough to win the mayor’s seat. Paradis got 49.3% of the vote. A total of 5,023 ballots were cast, including seven that were blank.
With a total of 23,660 eligible voters in the City of Lewiston, the percentage of voter turnout was 21.23%.