Portland Community Chamber government relations consultant Christopher O’Neil has visited the State of Maine Room at City Hall, where Portland mayoral ballots are being feverishly fed into scanners for Day 2 of the vote count.
We’re still a good four or five hours away from learning the winner of this 15-candidate race, and probably even more than an hour away from the ballot scanning process being complete.
After that, elections officials will go through a process by which they’ll cross check a sample size of ballot scans with how the software registers the votes to ensure the system is accurate. That’ll be another couple hours, and only after that will the second choice votes of lower ranked candidates be reallocated among higher ranked candidates to determine the winner.
In a brief conversation just moments ago, O’Neil, whose Chamber client endorsed consultant Jed Rathband in the race, said choosing the political newcomer was “a vote of conscience.”
Rathband, who went from a political unknown to a top tier candidate in just a few months, finished Election Day in fifth place among the 15 candidates. The current frontrunner is Michael Brennan.
O’Neil said the organization honorably mentioned David Marshall, Nicholas Mavodones and Ethan Strimling in the same motion in which it endorsed Rathband because the business group believes any of the men would make a strong mayor.
As much as backing any individual candidates, O’Neil said the Chamber went through its candidate screening process to educate candidates and the public on issues important to local businesses. The Chamber lauded Rathband as “one of the few candidates to acknowledge the failure of the Housing Replacement Ordinance, which adds a $55,000 liability to most multi-tenant properties in Portland.”
This election is the first time in 88 years Portland has popularly elected its mayor.