David Marshall, Jed Rathband and Markos Miller, three Portland mayoral candidates who claim shared values scheduled a joint news conference this morning to urge voters to seek alternatives to what Rathband called “the big three”: Current Mayor Nicholas Mavodones and former state lawmakers Michael Brennan and Ethan Strimling, which a Maine People’s Research Center poll earlier this week projected to be the top three most likely to win the crowded race.
Marshall, Rathband and Miller came in fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the poll.
Left unsaid specifically in the trio’s announcement is the message that if voters prefer one of the three as their top choice, the others should be Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, using the new ranked choice voting ballot. Unlike Brennan, Strimling and Mavodones, Miller and Rathband have no experience in elected offices, a characteristic the candidates say allows them to approach the mayoral position with fresh views and without, as Rathband has said, “political baggage.”
Marshall is a current city councilor, but is hailed by this morning’s trio as a member of the “new guard” by virtue of his grassroots work getting elected to the council and efforts advancing the re-establishment of the popularly elected mayor position. Fellow councilors twice voted down the restoration of the publicly elected mayor job (since 1923, Portland mayors have been picked by the council, essentially as its chairman) before Marshall fought to establish a charter commission and, ultimately, place of the question before voters last fall. The public approved a slate of charter changes at that time which restored the mayor as popularly elected.
In their news release issued in concert with today’s news conference, Marshall, Rathband and Miller highlighted their combined endorsements.
All three were among the top 5 picked by the League of Young Voters for a slate endorsement – Marshall was No. 1 – and Rathband was tapped as the sole endorsement of the Portland Community Chamber’s political action committee. Miller was among the Portland Education Association’s slate of four endorsed candidates (a Deering High School teacher, Miller is a member of the association – other PEA endorsements went to Mavodones, Strimling and Brennan). And all three received different endorsement nods from the Portland Phoenix, a publication which broke its endorsements up based on issues: It called Miller its top choice for “community/neighborhood development,” Marshall its No. 1 for each the “environment” and “creative economy,” and Rathband its favorite for “immigrant services/relations.”
Here are some statements issued today from the three.
Dave, Jed and I have proven track records of leading on an array of issues important to Portland. We represent the leadership our city needs to move into the future. We offer a progressive, proactive approach that builds upon Portland’s best qualities for social, environmental and economic sustainability.
Between the three of us, we now have a viable option for anyone looking to consider a candidate that brings a truly fresh perspective to the race. Dave, Markos and myself have demonstrated in an elected capacity, a volunteer capacity and in our own professional capacities that with fresh leadership we can make the changes necessary to move Portland ahead.
Markos Miller, Jed Rathband and I are known leaders on important issues in our city for years. We share a common vision for our future to improve transit, grow our city and invest in our schools. Voters find that each of us offer a great opportunity to establish the new generation of leadership to head our city.
The picture above, provided by the candidates, shows Marshall, Miller and Rathband in the foreground surrounded by supporters on the steps of City Hall for their morning news conference.