Aug. 23—LEWISTON — The 2021 mayoral race is slowly coming into focus.
With less than two weeks until nomination papers are due, the field has narrowed, but there's still notable decisions remaining.
According to City Clerk Kathy Montejo, two potential candidates who had taken out papers — Ron Potvin and Luke Jensen — have both withdrawn from consideration. Jensen, a city councilor, had recently told the Sun Journal that he was only exploring a run.
Potvin, however, issued a formal campaign announcement in late July, making his reasons for withdrawing unclear. The School Committee member who last ran for mayor in 2017, did not respond to requests for comment by late afternoon Monday.
The lead-up to the mayoral race has been shaped by Mayor Mark Cayer's decision to bow out of the position after a single two-year term.
Since then, six people have taken out papers to explore a run, but as of Monday, only Carl Sheline has had the required signatures confirmed by the City Clerk's office to appear on the November ballot.
Sheline, co-owner of Munka Coworking on Lisbon Street, has rolled out a campaign website and lawn signs with the slogan "Lewiston Forward." Sheline did not respond to requests for comment by late afternoon Monday.
Sheline could face a challenge from Lee Clement, Donna Gillespie or newcomer Brandon Forgues.
Clement, the Ward 6 city councilor, said Monday that he's still weighing his options. He pulled papers for the mayoral seat and his council position, and said he plans to choose one in the coming days.
"I just want to make sure that what I do is the right thing for me," he said Monday. "I've got a lot of support in both quarters."
Gillespie, who ran unsuccessfully for the Ward 2 council seat in 2017 and 2019, said Monday that she's "still contemplating at this point."
Forgues said earlier this month that he was "leaning toward" running. It would be his first campaign for elected office.
In Auburn, Mayor Jason Levesque is all but guaranteed a third consecutive term after no other candidates submitted papers by Auburn's earlier deadline last week.
Lewiston's City Council could see wholesale changes in 2022, with only Ward 7 Councilor Stephanie Gelinas officially running for re-election so far. It's an unusual turnover that also follows changes in city management, with the top two administrators resigning this summer.
Linda Scott and Dane Morgan have taken out papers to run for Safiya Khalid's Ward 1 seat. Khalid announced her departure earlier this month.
So far, Caleb Roebuck, Scott Harriman and Rick Lachappelle could be running unopposed for the Wards 2, 3 and 4 seats, respectively. Councilor Zack Pettengill stepped down from Ward 2 last week, and Ward 3 Councilor Alicia Rea and Ward 4 Councilor Michel Lajoie and not running for reelection.
In Ward 5, Charles Soule, Lynnea Hawkins and Laurier Pease have taken out papers. Soule has had his signatures confirmed. The ward is represented by Jensen.
Clement is so far the only person to pull papers for the Ward 6 seat.