Christopher Vail came into the decisive Day 2 of the Portland mayoral vote count in ninth place, but the city firefighter and Peaks Island native bested his projected finish with 403 first choice votes counted for him on Election Day.
We won’t know definitively who will become Portland’s first popularly elected mayor in 88 years until after 5 p.m. today, maybe even after 6 p.m.
In a Maine People’s Resource Center poll released last week, Vail was lumped into a group of “bottom six” candidates survey respondents could vote for in a bunch. Those who the organization considered to be in the top nine were broken out individually for poll takers to rank.
As it turned out, Vail cracked that top nine. Today, he’s essentially a statistical impossibility to win, but he said he’s proud of the campaign he ran.
Taking in the Day 2 process for a few moments today (if you still need to learn about what the Day 2 process entails, read some of my previous blog posts), Vail told me the campaign “energized” him and he’ll likely run for public office again.
“I personally viewed myself as right around the middle of the pack,” he said. “I knew I didn’t have that established political name, but I worked hard and got a lot of positive energy over the last six months. It’s a point of pride for me that I stuck with it.
“I don’t go into anything expecting to lose,” Vail continued, “so it’s still a little bit of a hit to my ego and my personality to put myself out into the public scrutiny like that. But I’m still proud of what I accomplished.”
Vail recalled an early October candidates forum organized by the Portland Music Foundation and Portland Arts & Cultural Alliance, at which he was the only candidate to admit he would oppose increased city funding for PACA. The admission was bold before the arts crowd assembled, but some audience members I interviewed that night said they appreciated the fiscal restraint and honesty.
“I gave the campaign kind of a realistic voice,” he said. “I didn’t promise the city anything that couldn’t be attained. I was honest and straight-forward.”